- Despite being a great student, according to her
biology teacher, Natalie would rather skip class that dissect an
invertebrate. She was heard telling her lab partner her excuse: "I'm
going to Manhattan". Without a doubt, she is too kind : she can't even
lie properly ;-)
- Natalie on why she became a
vegetarian: "My dad took me to a medical conference where there was a
demonstration of animal testing, laser surgery on a chicken. I was so
mad that a chicken had to die, I never ate meat again. Then in Sixth
Grade, we dissected a fish. I got so sick, I never ate fish again."
She's not however, a 'pure' vegetarian: "I eat dairy and egg products,
but I only use skim
milk products because I heard that, for whole milk, they give
steroids to cows to make the milk richer, and that makes their urinating
painful. It's gotta be skim milk."
-"I'm kind of conservative. I've never tried
smoking, I don't drink, I've never tried any drugs. I don't condemn
people who do, I've just never wanted to. I don't really like high
school parties." "My closest friends are very straight, compared to a
lot of other kids. I've been working since I was 11, getting paid. But
on the other hand, there's a lot of things I haven't experienced that a
lot of other kids have." It's not entirely true, Natalie has a vice :
"I'm, like, addicted to chocolate."
- According to a university newspaper interview
(Univercity), she now uses e-mail to communicate with her
parents while studying in university away from home.
-Natalie is about 1 meter 62 (5 feet, 4 inches)
- Her dog is named Noodles, half poodle / half
- She enjoys musicals, jazz, tap-dancing, ice
skating, ballet, reading, writing and going out with
- Natalie: "I have the greatest friends in the
world. They're fun, nice, and they have never acted weird about my being
- "My best friend, Rachel, is my soul mate. She's
so amazing and so cool. We're always saying the same thing at the same
time. We read each other's minds and feel each other's feelings. We can
have deep, intellectual discussions and then, the next second, be
laughing about stupid things." She explains:"I am more a teenager than
anyone else I know. One minute I feel really adult and the next minute I
say: "Let's play hide-and-seek!"
- Her favorite artists are : Alanis
Morissette, Bjork, PJ Harvey, Juliana Hatfield, Portishead, Moby, Slick
Rick, Stevie Wonder, Otis Redding, The Bangles and the Jackson
- "I met Juliana Hatfield at a Sam Goody record store
because she was there for World AIDS Day. I like her song Ugly.
She was at the counter and I went up and I'm like, "oh my god !". I'd
love to meet Bjork. My dad took me to her concert. It gave me chills to
ear her singing. I want to be like her when I grow up because she's just
like a child."
- "The word coconut makes me
uncomfortable. There are some beautiful words, though. For example, I
just love the way clutter sounds."
- When she was younger, she used to describe her
dad as someone who helped women get pregnant :-)
- Natalie doesn't watch much television: "Because
I don't have the time. When I do, I love to watch Ellen, that's
my favorite show, and Friends."
- "A few years ago (she was 11), I was in a
pizza parlour in Long
Island after my gym class, and some lady came up to me and
asked me to model for Revlon. So I got a modeling agent, but then Revlon
didn�t do the ad I told them that that was OK, I didn�t want to be a
model anyway: I wanted to act. So the modeling people put me in touch
with an acting agent, and it went from there"
- Natalie didn�t want to model because
:"One year, a local dance supply company came to my dance class looking
for girls to be in its catalog. I did it and I hated it. It was so
boring! So not stimulating!" She nevertheless signed a contract in the
fashion industry three years later with the ISAAC line, whose slogan
was: "Inside every woman there's a star". During her photo shoots,
Natalie was endlessly compared to Audrey Hepburn, the Belgian-born American
actress who captivated Hollywood from 1950 to 1970. Personally, I share
their point of view, not just at the physical level but because Audrey
Hepburn dedicated her last years to the United Nations International
Children's Emergency Fund (or UNICEF) as a special
ambassador from 1988 to 1993. Hence, we know Natalie has a great
potential for generosity :) It's actually quite astonishing because Luc
Besson discovered Natalie the year Audrey passed on... I'm beginning to
believe in reincarnation...
- "When I was little, I always said I
wanted to be an actress when I grow up, and I have been taking dance lessons since I was four. I was the
youngest person in this modern dance troupe in Washington, D.C. I was
always on stage and singing and dancing, at school, at camp, at home. I
used to use mixers as microphones and direct shows with my cousins. I
was this really bossy five-year-old, and I would be like: "You stand
here, and you stand here, and you sing," or, "I'll sing and you just lip
it." I was a really bossy kid, you know."
- "I look a lot like my family and I have
Mediterranean features. Right now I'm tan, so I feel so Israeli. I like
having something special about me. I'm not that average blond-haired,
blue-eyed American girl. My grandmother's really, really beautiful.
She's a really strong woman, she's been through a lot, and she's
maintained a real great spirit with her. I love looking at pictures of
her when she first came to Israel in the 1930s and the 40s. She was so
glamorous, with her hair and her suits. "
- She admits: "I'm a Gemini, so I changed my mind every day."
Here's a little summary of the careers she is considering pursuing
- "I have strong feelings about my people
and my country. I've even considered joining the Israeli Army,
though, I'm kind of a pacifist."
- "I don't know if I could live with acting
my whole life because there are such huge periods between films. I
see these 20-year-old actors who do nothing but smoke cigarettes and
go to clubs every night while they wait for their next part, and I
couldn't stand living that way. I have doubts whether I want to do
this for the rest of my life, but I do love it and don't know if I
could give it up." "I don't know if you get to use your brain that
much. You do, for certain roles, but not for most. Acting is more of
a hobby for me, but it's dangerous work because it's addictive...
And it's fun!"
- "I like math, and am also
seriously considering medicine. My Father is a doctor, an infertility
specialist, and he loves what he does so much. There are so many of
these women who want to have babies so bad but they can't. He helps
those women get pregnant and then we've been at birthday parties for
those kids. The women are so grateful."
- "I love math because there's always an
answer to everything. Algebra and geometry are so logical - once you
understand the concept, you can figure it out with logic and then
you don't have to study" She explains: "I don't love studying. I
hate studying. I like learning. Learning is beautiful.""It's never
been an issue to me whether I go to college or not. I'm not ready to
stop learning. I don't feel I'm ready to enter the world... I'm
going to make choices based on things I want to do."
- En juillet 95 elle racontait �galement:
"Je suis interress�e par le metier de v�t�rinaire. J'aime tellement
- In July of 1995, she also says: "I'm
interested in being a vet. I love animals so much."
- But don't worry, I'm
just trying to make you sweat :) Natalie reassures us in a recent
interview : "I have a lot of admiration for Susan Sarandon. It's because of her that I
continued because I wanted to stop acting, there's such a
dysfunctionality in the relationships in this industry. So, to see
this woman who sacrifices nothing to her career, yet is a loving
mother and wife, who is an active citizen, who is strong in her
convictions, she is an example. I really admire her and I had the
chance to really talk with her. She is definitively my model because
she's the proof that we can succeed our life and to be an actress."
...even if :"I follow the advice that Luc Besson gave me : "Don't
make more than one movie every two years". Effectively, it's
important to have space. When I see actresses of my age making six
or seven movies by year, they don't have a life." In any case, much
thanks from the seventh art to Susan Sarandon and Luc Besson ( we
can never thank him enough for discovering Nat
- She's had hair issues since she was seven years
old, when her hair turned into "big banana curls": "It takes me
hours to blow-dry my hair. My hair's not just curly : it's crazy curly.
It's as if it hasn't decided what to do. It's a mess. For school, I just
pull it back into a ponytail."
- "I went out on the first audition for The
Professional and the casting director said: "No, you're too young,
go home." So I went home, and I didn't feel bad about it because I mean
auditions are like that, if you're not right, I mean, what can you do?
So, I totally forgot about it and two weeks later they called me back in
and said that the director wanted it younger, and then I had to go back
again and read on camera. It was the "piggy scene", where I say, "I've
seen better days." And then I read for Luc, and I think it was one of
the best auditions I did in my life. He said, "See ya soon." So I went
home and I was like, "I got it !" I was really excited, I was jumping
off the walls. Except for understudying in an off-Broadway play
(Ruthless), this was my first real job."
- Here's the answer
to the question we'd all ask to the great Luc
Besson :) "Nearly 2000 girls auditioned from across Europe
and the United States when Natalie's photo caught my eye. She had that
something special I always look for in an actress. We did some takes in
a New York hotel room with a black and white camera. She was relaxed and
confident. She was incredibly photogenic I was immediately seduced. How
could anyone, at 12 years of age, have a demeanor so honest, so
determined ? She was so impressive. I wanted to test her abilities by
asking her to play the most difficult scene in the movie, when Mathilda
bursts into tears when L�on asks her name. I said to myself: "This girl
is incredibly gifted. I've only known her for ten minutes and she's
already aggressive." I knew it had to be her, but her parents were very
difficult to convince. In the script, she smoked and had a gun. But
Natalie knew what she wanted and finally convinced her mother to
consent. Still, she never compromised her convictions. She refused to
let her character kill someone or appear nude. On the set, I was very
impressed by her professionalism. She was focused, but still relaxed, as
if acting were natural. She already knew how to play the game." And to
conclude, what we all wanted to hear ;-) " I'm convinced she's going to
be a big star. And we'll meet again."
- Natalie :"I don't think you can learn to act.
It's like life, there's no technique to living." Still, there's
something, perhaps a little trick 'made by Natalie' that can change your
life I'm sure ;-) "You know people are really comfortable around you
when they can pick their nose in front of you."
- Luc Besson
on the negative reaction to the Director's Cut of L�ON (The
Professional) in pre-release in the United States: "The dinner
scene is an incredibly tender moment. Natalie was just 11 years old when
that was filmed. Her mother didn't want her to drink any Champagne but she had a few sips in
hiding. We started filming the scene and suddenly, she burst into uncontrollable laughter ! It was like crystal.
They didn't approve... What a hypocrisy! Our society is overwhelmed by
love and sexuality. Progress and modernization perverts it. Nude women
to sell that no-name shampoo doesn't bother anyone but this scene...
- "I am very fortunate to have started my career
with such great directors. Often, actors will make their first film with
director so and so, and we're too excited to worry about what work
they've done or if they even have any talent. I was so grateful it was
Luc Besson. He taught me everything I know about being a
- Natalie responds when asked if her parents are
too strict or controlling :"They've never gone overboard. My parents
just want me to be happy. They want to make sure stardom doesn't go to
my head. I love them. I prefer to go on vacation with them rather than
with kids of my own age. Before every film, my parents meet the producer
to discuss each scene, which would annoy a lot of people. But they only
do it to protect me. They don't want anything to portray a sexual image
of me that might make me feel uncomfortable. I refused the role of
Lolita for that reason. I want to walk down the street without having
men undress me in their minds." She adds:" [...] I find it difficult to
play roles that I haven't experienced in real life." Draw your own
- A few opinions and predictions about Natalie
- Isaac Mizrahi, designer : "I feel I'm
witnessing the next Elizabeth Taylor in the making" "There are not
enough superlatives for this girl. She is such a gifted actress and
then, to top it off, what she looks like! I have this strong feeling
that she is going to be a legend. She's somebody you can speak your
mind to, because she won't have a meltdown. She has a kind of
maturity many adult actors don't have."
- Ted Demme: "Natalie absolutely
blew me out of my seat in The Professional, and after one
reading of the script for Beautiful Girls, I knew she was
the only actress who could play this character."
Allen: "She immediately impressed me as an unusually
natural and intelligent actress, she has a great
- "When I met her, you could tell she was
kind of a prodigy." says Michael Mann, director of Heat.
"In the movie, she has a very short amount of screen time to
believably communicate a child who is seriously dysfunctional without any overt hysteria or
exaggerated dialogue, and she delivers. Only someone with serious
talent can do that."
- On anorexia and bulimia in young actresses:
"It's not a problem for me. I couldn�t be anorexic because I like food
too much, and I couldn�t be bulimic because I hate throwing up too much.
But I do have a lot of friends who are on constant diets, and that�s
scary. Most people aren�t naturally model-skinny and trying to be is
just unhealthy. On the other hand, there are some young actresses around
now who are quite voluptuous, people like Kate Winslet and Christina
Ricci, who have beautiful figures. So there�s hope."
Reno on The Professional (L�ON): "The first
private screening (just Luc Besson and Jean Reno watching) is, for me,
the fondest memory. The Professional was still in editing, a
work-in-progress without the sound and without the music. The movie was
extremely tender and emotional but less an American product. It was
enormous, at the limit of bearable. It's like the ocean pouring
itself over you. At the end of the screening, Luc turned the lights on
and looked over at me. I was overwhelmed with emotion. He turned the
lights off and left me alone for a few minutes. It was a feeling much
more profound than with Nikita (original French version of
La Femme Nikita) or Le Grand Bleu (The Big
Blue). It's a like part of my history and there
- When asked about the first time she and Jean
Reno met : "Luc invited us both to his suite at the Essex House, and Luc
cooked for us. He made us spaghetti." Just a little anecdote
- "I think the way a character looks is
so important for a film, because it really tells you so much about who
the character is. In The Professional, I had a very sleek,
French haircut, which was appropriate for the mood of the film. Then, in
Beautiful Girls, I was dressed like a normal kid, an average
suburban girl." "At school I'm really a comfortable dresser, I just need
to be in clothes I can get through class in." After playing in The
Professional, Natalie could be seen wearing the big brown boots
that Mathilda had in the film. "I often wear my
shoes from the movies, because they are the only things that don't get
- "There are a lot of people I admire. I really
admire Elizabeth Glaser, the AIDS activist. And Itzhak Rabin, he was
such a hero. I was born in Israel and I go there lot, all my dad's
family is there. I'm not religious at all, but Israel is such a
spiritual place. And people talk until they're blue in the face about
moral issues and what should happen in the country. I hope there will be
peace there. Israelis and Arabs are cousins, we have the same
descendants. Yet there's this hatred. It's just ridiculous that people
kill other people in the name of religion. No religion advocates
killing." This goes to Natalie's religious convictions, probably due to
her education: "Ethically and politically, I come from a very liberal
environment. It's not a Puritan family but I was raised with the idea
that I must respect my life. This means I intend to live my life like a
normal person and not like a celebrity."
- Unfortunately, many members of her family were
killed by the Nazis in the Second World War :"Most of them died in
Auschwitz. My dad�s parents, his little brother... his whole family
except for him and two brothers. What�s so tragic is that we had so very
many people in the family that I�ll never get to meet. You can�t imagine
how sad that is."
- She turned down Robert Redford's
The Horse Whisperer to take the role in The Diary of Anne
Frank. However, she was replaced by Nathalie Paulding in the role
on June 2nd, 1998 due to her obligations to the famous Star Wars: Episode 1.
- The Diary of Anne Frank was the subject
of an Oscar-winning film by George Stevensand has been translated into
55 languages. It's one of the most read books in the world, selling over
24 million copies. It was re-edited in 1995 with nearly 30% of added
text, removed originally by Anne's father and the German editor. These
added passages were included in the play Natalie was in.
- Natalie has traveled to many places,
including Japan (where she is a big star since her role in The
Professional), Amsterdam (where she visited Anne Frank's secret
annex and bought her book), Australia and of course, Paris
- Natalie wasn't very intimidated about her role
in Star Wars : "Because I was born in Israel (my father
is an Israeli) Star Wars wasn't as iconic as it was in most
American households, It's not as rooted in me personally as it is with a
lot of American teenagers. My friends made me realize what a big deal it
was". She reveals: "I'm more excited about my high school graduation
than about playing in the biggest movie of the decade." Apparently,
being in a Star Wars movie hasn't gone to her
- Natalie has been accepted to Harvard (Boston)
and Yale: two of the most prestigious universities in the United States.
But school is not her only worry: "I can't believe I'm going to have to
learn to do my laundry and even iron when I go off to college in
- To write to Natalie: "Natalie Portman, c/o Star
Wars Fan Club, P.O. Box 111000, Aurora, CO 80042, USA" or here: "Natalie
Portman, c/o ICM 8942 Wilshire Blvd. Beverly Hills, CA 90211, USA".
Another address from the September issue of Teen magazine:
Natalie Portman, c/o ID PR, 3859 Cardiff Ave. Culver City, CA 90232,
-Natalie's performance in The
Professional drew critical acclaim and earned her a nomination for
Best Female Dramatic Performance at the Young Star Awards, guided by The
Hollywood Reporter. She was also nominated in May of 1998 at the FANY
(FAns of NY Theatre) Awards for her role in the play The Diary of
Anne Frank. The Golden Globes 2000 had the honesty (we
know how biased these can be) of nominating Natalie Best Performance
by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture for
Anywhere But Here.