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The Marvel Cinematic Universe is on the edge of a precipice, as Phase Three has officially come to a close. Spider-Man: Far From Home revealed how the Earth had moved on in the wake of Infinity War and Endgame, but there are still plenty of questions floating in the air. And once Marvel Studios revealed its outline for Phase Four at San Diego Comic-Con, even more questions arose.

This is especially true for the Thor franchise, as Taika Waititi announced his return for Thor: Love and Thunder. Natalie Portman is reprising her role as Jane Foster, and will even transform into Mighty Thor in the process.

And it turns out that it was Waititi himself who convinced the Oscar winner to return to the MCU. As MCU architect Kevin Feige recently revealed this when speaking about the fourth Thor movie, saying:

We love the story — it’s one of the best comic runs recently. [Director Taika Waititi] would flip through and read that run while he was doing Ragnarok. And I think when he agreed to come back and do another Thor, he was like, ‘How do we–?’ This is a very big movie that’ll be folding in a lot of elements. That is a huge important part of it. He pitched it to us, and we were totally in. We loved it. We’d been in touch with Natalie. She’s part of the MCU family and we put she and Taika together. It took one meeting and she agreed to do it.

Despite her years-long hiatus from the MCU and quick write off in Thor: Ragnarok, Natalie Portman was easily convinced to play Jane Foster again. Ragnarok director Taika Waititi just took one brief meeting with her, and reportedly wooed her with his pitch.

Kevin Feige’s comments to CNN will make a great deal of sense to moviegoers who have been following the Thor franchise. Chris Hemsworth’s series of solo flicks haven’t always been the best the MCU had to offer, and Thor: The Dark World is considered one of the weaker installments in the massive franchise.

That was the last time Natalie Portman was seen as Jane Foster, with the character being written out via breakup up with Thor.

While Jane was noticeably absent in Thor: Ragnarok, the threequel breathed new life into the property. Taika Waititi leaned in on comedy, taking the God of Thunder into space and pairing him with colorful characters, including The Hulk.

The change in tone and color really connected with audiences, and Ragnarok made a ton of money at the box office. The success was significant enough that Thor will be the first hero to get a fourth movie in the MCU.

Clearly big changes are coming for Jane Foster in Thor: Love and Thunder, and the plot twists were enticing enough to get Natalie Portman involved. We’ll just have to wait and see what’s coming in the upcoming blockbuster, which will arrive in two years and change.

Jane Foster’s absence from Phase Three was noticeable, and so much has changed throughout the last slate of films. On the whole, romantic plot lines took a step back, as characters develop in other ways. But the title Thor: Love and Thunder puts matters of the heart at the forefront. In fact, Tessa Thompson recently revealed that Valkyrie will be looking for her Queen of Asgard in the upcoming sequel.

Natalie Portman’s signature Marvel character is a genius and astrophysicist, who unknowingly gets involved in cosmic conflicts during the first Thor movie. She eventually hits it off with the God of Thunder during his fish out of water story, joining the ranks of love interest characters like Pepper Potts and Peggy Carter.

She and Thor reunite in Thor: The Dark World, revealing that he hadn’t exactly been around previously and slapping Chris Hemsworth’s behemoth hero right in his handsome face. She is infected by The Aether in the movie, with the Reality Stone flowing through her. Jane eventually saved and makes it out alive, breaking up with Thor sometime in the future.

Jane Foster wasn’t present for any of the action in Phase Three, although she did get a quick cameo in Avengers: Endgame. During the epic Time Heist, Thor and Rocket are tasked with extracting The Aether from Jane in Asgard.

While Thor ends up speaking with his mother Frigga moments before her death, Rocket must sneak into Jane’s quarters to procure the Reality Stone. Natalie Portman didn’t shoot anything new for that brief sequence, with unused footage from The Dark World utilized to briefly use Jane as a macguffin.

What Jane has been up to throughout Phase Three is largely a mystery, although she and her co-workers Darcy and Erik Selvig were revealed to have survived Thanos’ snap in a novel set after Avengers: Infinity War.

Fans are eager to catch up with the character, especially now that she’s going to be changed so drastically in Thor: Love and Thunder.

The overall story of the fourth Thor movie is a mystery to the public, although Taika Waititi clearly has been plans for his follow up to Ragnarok. The last we saw the God of Thunder, he was onboard The Benatar with the Guardians of the Galaxy. It was unclear if he was joining the team or simply hitching a ride, although the latter seems more likely given the announcement of Love and Thunder.

At the conclusion of Avengers: Endgame, Thor decided to abandon his role as the King of New Asgard. Instead, he gave Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie and left Earth to become the person he was meant to be. The narrative possibilities are wide open for Taika Waititi in Thor: Love and Thunder, especially now that Natalie Portman will get her own chance to be a superhero.

Thor: Love and Thunder will fly into theaters on November 5th, 2021.

Source : Cinema Blend

Spider-Man: Far From Home was the final installment in Marvel’s Phase Three, wrapping up the Infinity Saga as we know it. But the studio isn’t showing any signs of slowing down, revealing the outline for Phase Four last week at San Diego Comic-Con. There were a ton of exciting updates provided about the MCU’s future, but perhaps the most surprising was Natalie Portman’s return to the Thor franchise with Taika Waititi’s Love and Thunder.

Not only will Jane Foster return to the MCU in the first significant way since 2013’s Thor: The Dark World, but she’ll become a Thor herself in the upcoming sequel. This news broke the internet among the fandom, with Taika Waititi also revealing the character will go by the superhero name Mighty Thor. An artist recently imagined what Jane might look like in this new role, check it out below.

I mean, how cool is that? This fan art gives Natalie Portman a comic book accurate costume, which is sure to excite fans of her adventures on the page. Although we should expect her superheroic appearance to remain a mystery until the movie arrives in theaters 2021.

This art comes to us from Instagram, and shows a fan made poster for Thor: Love and Thunder. The image is heavily inspired by the upcoming fourth movie’s title art, which has a serious ’80s feel to it. And while using images of Valkyrie and Thor from their recent appearances in Avengers: Endgame, Jane was given a new look and an awesome helmet as Mighty Thor.

Jane Foster has wielded Mjolnir a few times in the comics, with Thor’s powers flowing through her as she gains fantastic abilities. Most notably, her transformation into Thor in one comic plot line actually negatively affected her health. While sick with breast cancer, Jane could use Thor’s hammer to battle and gain his abilities, but the transformation exacerbated her symptoms– and purged the radiation of her treatments from her body. It was a fascinating approach to the superhero identity, although its unclear if Taika Waititi will be inspired by the same story.

Thor: Love and Thunder will break new ground for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and is no doubt one of the most highly anticipated installments in Phase Four’s schedule. The movie will bring Taika Waititi back to the director’s chair, after the wild success of Thor: Ragnarok. Love and Thunder marks the first time an MCU hero got a fourth movie, and brings Natalie Portman’s character back as the first character to inherit the mantle of Thor in the shared universe.

Just what the upcoming fourth Thor movie will contain is unclear, but clearly love is at the heart of the subject matter. Romantic plot lines have largely taken a backseat in the MCU through Phase Three, with the exception being Tony/Pepper and Gamora/Star-Lord. Endgame revealed Thor is still hung up on Jane, and their breakup should presumably be more fleshed out when she returns to theaters.

Tessa Thompson’s Valkyrie should also return for Thor: Love and Thunder, and the actress revealed at San Diego Comic-Con that the new King of Asgard would be searching for her Queen in her next appearance. Valkyrie is the first LGBT hero in the shared universe, once again allowing the fourth movie in the Thor franchise to go where no other Marvel movie has gone before.

Thor: Love and Thunder will arrive in theater on November 5th, 2021. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

Source: CinemaBlend

A title of Love and Thunder for a MCU Thor movie might sound overly tongue-in-cheek. Not that we don’t love Marvel’s cheekier side, something we wish they’d explore more often. When Thor: Ragnarok did this a few years ago, fans wanted more as much as Chris Hemsworth did.

Now Marvel is acquiescing with Thor: Love and Thunder, albeit giving a showcase for the one and only Natalie Portman to play Jane Powers. We all know her character disappeared for a while in the Thor films, even if she also developed a very derogatory title.

Fans have been calling Portman’s character “Female Thor” on social media of late. Director of the new project, Taika Waititi, wants fans to designate her into something more in tune with gender equality.

The director wants us to think of Portman’s Thor as one and the same

When a few notable Thor fans on social media called out Portman’s character as Female Thor, Waititi chimed in immediately and said she’ll be known as “Mighty Thor.”

Those of you who know the story of Jane Powers from the comic books know she essentially fills in for her significant other (the Male Thor) when he can’t fulfill his superhero duties. Despite Jane being stricken with breast cancer, she summons all the power she can muster to take his place.

Now you know why Mighty Thor makes sense in this context. What makes Powers all the more important is she’s an astrophysicist, giving her the intellect along with the brawn.

So take heed and call her by her rightful title for the new movie. Not that we still don’t have questions about whether Portman will steal the movie away from Hemsworth.

Really, that subtitle almost looks like the name of a buddy superhero movie. Considering “Love” would obviously represent Portman, it seems it’s a subtle nod toward her receiving star billing.

Then again, others could construe the subtitle as just a more metaphorical statement about the relationship between Thor and Jane.

In the context of stardom, both Portman and Hemsworth are equal in A-list star quality. The only difference is Portman is an Oscar winner and far more accomplished actress. It could make Hemsworth intimidated on how his acting holds up to hers.

While no one can deny Hemsworth’s star quality, he still has a lot to prove in being an actor worthy of awards. At least he found his true element playing Thor.

This may be Portman’s story rather than Hemsworth’s

No matter if they share equal billing in Love and Thunder, there seems to be all indication Portman is considered the central figure. Hemsworth may have to take a bit of a backseat role here in favor of Portman’s acting ability.

Should she play up her chemotherapy treatments for breast cancer as in the comic books, then it could prove a very complex portrayal changing superhero movies to serious Oscar considerations.

Yes, Black Panther already proved such a thing, but nobody would equate Oscar with a Thor movie.

What would Hemsworth think about Portman superseding him in the film? We’re sure he’s all on board, though he’s wanted to focus more on the comedy side of Thor for a while. Let’s hope he and Portman have further comedic chemistry as they did in the previous films she appeared in.

Could Portman steal the thunder away from Hemsworth?

It’s looking clear to us Portman is going to slay as Mighty Thor, including reportedly getting herself ripped in preparation. Having this happen could be bad news for Hemsworth if he wants to focus on being Thor exclusively for a long time.

Portman’s take may prove so popular, Marvel may make more standalone movies just for her. How could they deny such a thing considering her acting pedigree?

Stealing it away from Hemsworth might anger some of the male fans. Regardless, it may be the only way to make a faster difference in expanding the path toward more women superheroes.

Source: Cheatsheet.com

Marvel just announced some amazing news at the San Diego Comic-Con!!

Natalie Portman is female Thor announced Thor 4 director Taika Waititi. She played Jane Foster in the first two Thor movies. Pic opens Fall 2021.

No surprise here at Marvel’s Comic-Con panel, but Taika Waititi was on hand to talk about Thor 4 along with Tessa Thompson who played Valkyrie in Thor Ragnarok along with Chris Hemsworth. Why no surprise? News broke earlier this week that Waititi was returning to Thor. He’s also here for FX’s What We Do In Shadows later tonight at the San Diego Convention Center. Thompson appeared earlier on HBO’s Westworld panel.

Valkyrie will be “re-investing in her people” and rebuilding Asgard said Thompson. “The love I feel for him is thunder,” said Thompson.

Waititi was reading one story line by Jason Aron called The Mighty Thor which is what the fourthquel will be based on. “That story line is incredible is full emotion, love and thunder and introduces for the first time female Thor,” said Waititi. Thompson and Hemsworth haven’t seen the script yet.

What’s happened to Thor posts Endgame? “He’s heading to the 7-11 for a little Netflix subscription and at this point he might be on the couch, who knows,” said Hemsworth.

Source: Deadline

The feature from the studio’s newly branded Disneynature label will debut on Disney+, the upcoming direct-to-consumer streaming service.

Natalie Portman will narrate the Disney feature film Dolphin Reef, to be released on Disney+, the studio’s upcoming streaming service.

Created by Disneynature, the new Disney-branded film label, and directed by Keith Scholey, the pic centers on Echo, a young Pacific bottlenose dolphin who can’t quite decide if it’s time to grow up and take on new responsibilities. That is, until he can’t resist the many adventures the ocean has to offer.

“Disneynature takes audiences to spectacular and remote places to share remarkable wildlife stories captured by our award-winning film crews,” Paul Baribault, vice president of Disneynature, said Monday in a statement.

Dolphin Reef will join the lineup on Disney+, which is set to launch Nov. 12 as a family-friendly service with an expansive library of programming, including the Disney classics 101 Dalmatians, Bambi, Fantasia, Mary Poppins, The Sword in the Stone, Steamboat Willie and Sleeping Beauty.

In addition to the some 7,500 TV episodes and 500 movies available, the platform will also be home to original programming including The Mandalorian, High School Musical: The Musical: The Series and the live-action remake of Lady and the Tramp.

Disney+ will also feature movies and shows from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm and National Geographic.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

STAR WARS prequels star Natalie Portman has opened up on fan backlash to the trilogy in a new interview.

The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith are widely considered by some fans to be the worst Star Wars films. And now prequel trilogy star Portman, who played Padme, has revealed what an effect that negativity had on her. Speaking with Empire, the 37-year-old said: “It was hard. It was a bummer because it felt like people were so excited about new ones and then to have people feel disappointed.”

Portman continued: “Also to be at an age that I didn’t really understand that’s kind of the nature of the beast.

“When something has that much anticipation it can almost only disappoint.

“With the perspective of time, it’s been re-evaluated by a lot of people who actually really love them now.

“There’s a very avid group of people who think they’re the best ones now! I don’t have enough to perspective to weigh in.”

Remaining positive, Portman added: “It’s definitely one of the most important things I’ve been part of. Important meaning things I’m most associated with.

“It’s the only time I’ve done three films from the same universe.

“But I think because I had worked a lot before and worked a lot after, there are many other things I’m associated with… It’s been meaningful to me and it’s very cool to be part of.”

Earlier this week The Phantom Menace celebrated its 20th anniversary at Star Wars Celebration, where Jar Jar Binks star Ahmed Best received a warm reception from fans.

Last year Best bravely shared how he had considered suicide following the criticisms against his character Jar Jar Binks.

Following great support for speaking out on his struggles then, the actor received huge fan appreciation upon arriving for The Phantom Menace panel.

Many chanted, “Ahmed! Ahmed! Ahmed!”, as he came on stage.

Best took his seat and said: “You guys are gonna make me tear up and I’m an unattractive crier.”

Source: Express

Shapeshifter Natalie Portman transitions from mother to crusader to centre stage actor and now a next chapter: a modern character study in resolve, intelligence and womanhood. Here, read the full cover story and see every picture from Vogue Australia’s April 2019 issue.

Natalie Portman is backstage in a dressing room amid the labyrinth of corridors under Melbourne’s opulent Regent Theatre. She is dressed in a bodice, and with her hair pulled back under the matching mesh head covering, her delicate features are accentuated. She looks in the mirror and dabs at her lips; hers is a classic beauty befitting a Hollywood movie star. Then she suddenly turns to the camera with a fierce stare, and in a flicker of her eyes Portman momentarily transforms into Nina, her disturbed ballet dancer in Black Swan, who in a moment of psychosis trashes a dressing room in a climactic scene. In fact, a dressing room is also the scene of a pivotal moment in Portman’s latest film Vox Lux, when her troubled and addictive pop star character Celeste has a mini meltdown prior to going on stage for a big comeback concert. I mention this observation later – same scenario, two different characters, eight years apart – and wonder if the dressing room has any particular meaning to Portman. Her face lights up: “Well spotted,” she smiles. “Those scenes were actually coincidentally filmed in the same venue, in the same dressing room!”

Earlier Portman had been running down a gilt-lined hallway in a diamanté bolero, acting out another scene. It reminded a crew member of her personification of Jackie Onassis in Jackie, which earned the actress critical praise for her uncanny take on the much-admired former US First Lady and style icon. “I could pretend to be her all day, she’s divine,” Portman purrs, before disappearing down the corridor again to ready for another shot.

The romanticism of the stage and theatre – her husband runs a dance company – seems a perfect setting for this movie star and her Vogue Australia cover shoot. Portman loves playing dress-ups and embodying new characters. She has carved a successful career out of it since she first appeared on screen at the age of 12 in Léon: The Professional in 1994. Her choices have led to her portraying interesting, complex women, many of whom became game-changers for the actress: Nina won her an Oscar, Jackie earned plaudits, Garden State (2004) indie cred, Closer her first Oscar nomination, even Queen Amidala was transformative, earning her a legion of Star Wars fans and bringing her to Australia for the first time. Portman spent several months living in Sydney in 2000 while Star Wars: Episode II and III were filmed simultaneously at Fox Studios. The period left an indelible memory on Portman, who has an eternal soft spot for our country.

Last year she returned with her family – husband Benjamin Millepied, a renowned French ballet dancer and choreographer, and their children Aleph, seven, and two-year-old Amalia – to attend the National Gallery of Victoria’s (NGV) Gala in Melbourne. There Portman marvelled at the Escher x Nendo: Between Two Worlds exhibition, as well as Indigenous art at the NGV’s Ian Potter Centre, while the family also ate their way through Melbourne’s award-winning restaurants and took in cultural experiences while enjoying a holiday.

“My family does not want to leave: they just love it here,” she says with a smile as we chat in the cafe of a new boutique Melbourne hotel. “This country is a dream. The people are so warm, so friendly, the food is unbelievable, the nature is astonishing. The culture’s incredible … I’m very admiring of this nation.”

Her son is now obsessed with the platypus, which he saw at the zoo, and the family have also became fans of Australian Rules Football, thanks to an introduction from Portman’s best friend from school, who is married to an Australian and lives in Melbourne. “She organised for us to go to a practice, which was so amazing. They were super-lovely and incredible athletes,” she says.

“And it’s so cool that there are women’s teams. So cool. They were saying that it’s made the men’s and the women’s leagues more popular. They’ve gotten more female fans and more male fans, which is so great. I wish we had that [in the US].”

Portman is passionate about gender equality. A day after President Trump’s inauguration in 2017, Portman, then heavily pregnant with her daughter, made an impassioned speech at the first Women’s March in Los Angeles:

“From the bottom of both hearts beating inside my miraculous female body, I want to thank our new president – you just started the revolution,” she said to resounding applause. Last year, soon after the Time’s Up movement to eradicate sexual harassment was officially launched, Portman returned to the dais at the 2018 Women’s March and revealed how she was sexualised as a 12-year-old after the debut of her first film, Léon: The Professional. Several weeks later she took her stance to the Oscars, highlighting the lack of inclusiveness in the best director category that she was presenting, brilliantly deadpanning: “And here are the all-male nominees.”

When we speak, Portman reflects on Time’s Up, and is circumspect about what she’s learnt, positing that closing the gender pay gap is the next phase of the revolution.

“It’s been really an incredible learning process, and a lot of new friendships and support systems have formed, and a network that we had never had. It was really surprising and amazing to me,” she says. “I think I was also surprised by how much I had accepted that was not okay, because of course it was a surprise to realise how many women had been affected by this, by many different perpetrators, and to many different extents, and how with all of it there is a spectrum of things that are not okay that we put up with on a regular basis. I think one thing that was so interesting … [was] I would hear people say: ‘Well, that’s not really harassment, that’s like a bad date, or we’ve all had that.’ Because we’ve all had that doesn’t mean it’s okay, it means it’s ubiquitous … that was really a revelation to me: that it’s not just a bad date or a bad boyfriend, that it is abusive and sexist, and we’ve been living in it, and not only that, but also the [iniquity of] hiring practices and pay.

“I mean, it’s all related, because it’s all about how we are valued, and I think we’ve internalised it, and become part of it. We’ve become complicit in the system because we internalised that.

“It was a real eye-opening of: ‘Wow, I’m part of this system. I’ve accepted this system. I’ve been complicit in this system’, not in the way of knowing someone’s getting abused and not talking about it, but complicit in the way of not actively revolting against it. It’s been quite a year.”

I ask if she is teaching both her daughter and son to become empowered, and she nods. “Yes, it’s absolutely different when you know you are raising a next generation, both male and female,” she says. “And also, of course being introduced to the ideas of gender fluidity where you’re like: ‘Oh, how do I not imprint this shit that I have imprinted on me? How do I not imprint that on my kids?’ I think we’re all grappling with it in different ways.”

It was after being inspired by the launch of Time’s Up that Portman finally joined Instagram, where she has since garnered over 3.6 million followers. She uses the social media platform to champion her many causes – activism, veganism, her various film projects and, of course, the arts, and regularly posts support for her husband’s company, the LA Dance Project. The couple met when Millepied worked as the ballet choreographer on Black Swan (2010). Millepied also acted as Portman’s personal coach of sorts for Vox Lux, helping his wife prepare her pop-star dance choreography at home.

“It was so fun,” she says of working with her husband again. “First of all, I don’t know how I would have done it without him, because he pretty much did it as a favour to me, because I had so little time before we started that I don’t think it would have been possible if we hadn’t been in the same home, to just able to fit in rehearsals whenever we had a moment. That was really, really fun, and then also, of course, he’s amazing, and also knows my leg strengths and weaknesses, so he knows how to work around what I can and can’t do.

“Then the dancers were incredible; they had all come off of Beyoncé’s tour. I mean, it took me a month of spending hours every day working on this stuff and they learned it like two days. It was really amazing. They were just the greatest women.”

Another bonus of Vox Lux was acting out her childhood dreams of being a pop star. The ambitious drama centres around a school massacre survivor who becomes a troubled international pop star derailed by fame. Australian singer Sia wrote the songs.

“It was a good time, being up there on stage and singing and dancing; I was definitely brought back to having that kid feeling of singing with my hairbrush in the mirror,” she says.

Portman then moved from the stage to space, starring as an astronaut in the yet to be released Lucy in the Sky – “she’s an astronaut who comes back to Earth … it’s a story about a woman who loses it”. Portman grins – this seems to be a recurring theme for her character choices.

“I feel like I’m getting to live out my childhood dreams through my roles: ballerina, singer, astronaut,” she quips: “It’s going to be my criteria now for choosing movies that I’m going to be playing – next I’ll be like a mermaid and a firewoman!”

Off-screen, Portman is multi-faceted, in no particular order: actor, mother, wife, activist, writer, director, producer, vegan. She is known for being an intellectual – she studied psychology at Harvard and in 2016 conducted a rather cerebral email correspondence with author Jonathan Safran Foer for a cover story in The New York Times’s T Magazine, which was mocked on the internet for its pretentiousness.

She later told The Cut of the exchange: “I am pretentious! So it’s good to be reminded. Sometimes, I get too serious or whatever. I don’t really mind. It was mainly funny.”

It was while producing a documentary based on Safran Foer’s book Eating Animals that Portman, who has been a practicing vegetarian since the age of nine, decided to turn completely vegan, eschewing eating or wearing any animal products.

“I was pregnant with my first child when I read Eating Animals and I then understood how sick [and polluting] our factory farming is in the United States.”

As she explains this I rather embarrassingly start to remove the leather jacket I am wearing, and she laughs sincerely: “Oh no, don’t worry, I’m very not judgmental. I hate when anyone pressures me on any of my choices.”

In person, Portman is polite, inquisitive and engaging – and despite being the most famous person in the room, will happily turn the conversation back on the person in front of her. And although she is seemingly serious and sometimes intense, there is still a very light-hearted, girlie side to the actress, who excitedly waxes lyrical about the benefits of working with the house of Dior – she has been the face of Miss Dior perfume since 2010.

“It’s been really incredible getting to work with Dior. I’ve had amazing experiences and I’m kind of obsessed with flowers and scent, so to get to visit the rose fields in Grasse and meet with their nose, François Demachy [Dior perfumer creator], and see how it gets created is just a total fantasy dream,” she says.

“And then, of course, I get to wear the clothes. It’s been amazing having Maria Grazia Chiuri there – I feel like a woman knows what another woman wants to wear! And every time I’m in those dresses I feel exactly how I want to feel.”

Grazia Chiuri ignited discussion about feminism and gender politics in fashion when her debut collection for Dior included T-shirts proclaiming ‘We Should All Be Feminists’ – the title of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s book-essay. Portman, of course, applauded it.

“I almost cried when I saw her putting flats down the couture runway. I was like: ‘Yes!’” she says as she pumps her fist in a sign of empowerment. “She’s amazing and it’s been really fun – it’s also made me wear red lipstick a lot more in my real life. I don’t normally wear make-up but whenever I’m feeling bold, like I want to go in and get things done, I put on red lipstick and I’m ready.”

This article will appear in Vogue Australia’s April 2019 issue, on sale Monday, April 1.

Source: Vogue Australia

LOS ANGELES – In Vox Lux, Natalie Portman plays a girl who survives a school shooting, sings a song about it and becomes a huge pop star.

But as the movie attempts to dissect modern celebrity and violence, it left many moviegoers scratching their heads and critics rolling their eyes. And with a 60 per cent score on the website Rotten Tomatoes, it is one of Oscar winner Portman’s worst-reviewed films in years, although her performance received praise in some quarters.

At a screening in Hollywood last December (2018), the actress and the film’s writer-director, Brady Corbet, addressed the polarised reactions to their movie, which opens in Singapore on Feb 28.

Corbet, 30, says he set out to “make a movie that was about the early part of the 21st century”. And one of the defining characteristics of this century is “the spectacle of evil”, explains Portman, 37.

“In this century, the pageantry of evil is that violence has become theatre, violence has become about making a show – making the news and getting on TV. It’s all merging in this awful way,” she says.

“When I read (the script) it was like, wow, that’s something I hadn’t really thought about – the collision between pop culture and political life and violence.”

A story about a pop star captures the dark side of fame and pop culture in a way that an actor’s story could not, she believes.

“I think pop stars, unlike actors, are presenting a version of themselves, so there’s more at stake in terms of their fame, because we really see their personal relationships and ups and downs,” says the star, who won the Best Actress Oscar for the psychological drama Black Swan (2010).

“We see their art as a representation of their inner life, whereas for actors, we always see them as separate from their roles.”

Corbet says it is no coincidence the story starts in 1999, the year of the Columbine school shooting in Colorado as well as the height of singer Britney Spears’ fame.

“I’m from Colorado and I lived there when Columbine happened,” says the film-maker, who is also an actor from movies such as Funny Games (2007).

“It cast a shadow over the last 20 years in this country,” he says, noting the many school shootings that have followed. “I think it is one of the defining moments of our era.”

Asked about how the film has divided audiences, Corbet concedes “it is a very unusual film”.

“I think there are a lot of things you are not allowed to do (in films) – you are not allowed to have dramatic tonal shifts from melodrama to dark comedy and tragedy.

“But I believe in order for the film to be emblematic of the defining events of the 21st century, it had to be all of those things – equal parts absurdist and very serious.”

The film opens with a shooting and concludes with a pop concert.

While acknowledging it is a “difficult pitch”, he adds: “But I think the juxtaposition of the two exists in the culture and news cycle already. And with the convergence of pop culture and policy, I felt it was important to make a movie this way.”

Corbet calls it an ambitious experiment and is glad that people have shown up to watch it.

“Even if people really don’t like the film, I’m really thankful they spent two hours with it because it is very unusual. So I hope the whole thing opens a viewer’s mind, or a part of it does. That’s the best you can do.”

Portman sees similarities between Vox Lux and her Oscar-winning film Black Swan, in that “both have an interest in performance and what it means to be someone who has a performative self versus a private self, and what that means”.

She was also drawn to the larger-than-life character she plays, Celeste, and the “incredible dialogue that Brady wrote” for her.

“It’s so extravagant, the stuff she says. It’s like nonsense to real insight and back to this garbage – she’s just all over the joint,” the actress says. “And goes from being all pretence to a moment of being genuine.

“It was really fun to get to play with it.”

Vox Lux opens Feb 28.

Source: The Straits Times

NATALIE Portman sets pulses racing as she strips down to a black bra in new movie Vox Lux.

The Oscar-winning actress, 37, sizzles in a sexy dressing room scene as she portrays eccentric pop diva Celeste in the psychodrama.

The star also goes full on Lady Gaga in a crystal-encrusted catsuit while delivering a show-stopping concert.

Proving herself to be quite the triple threat, Natalie also sings and dances in the movie.

Some of the moves are even the work of her long-time choreographer husband Benjamin Millepied.

Vox Lux follows the rise of Celeste from the ashes of a major national tragedy to pop superstardom.

The movie spans across 18 years, starting from when Celeste is a teenager caught up in a school shooting.

After singing an original song inspired by the event at a memorial service, her talent is quickly spotted by music execs and she becomes the next music sensation – but fame isn’t without its pitfalls.

Jude Law also stars as Celeste’s manager, while Willem Dafoe narrates the movie.

The soundtrack also boasts original songs written by Grammy-nominated artist Sia.

Rooney Mara was booked to play Celeste in September 2016 but was replaced by Natalie in January 2018.

Speaking ahead of Vox Lux’s release, Natalie said of the her latest role: “I like that she’s not like a tragic victim.

“She’s certainly a party to her own devouring. She’s both on the receiving end of destruction and also a destroyer herself. [The movie] takes a pretty dark view of the effects of fame, for sure.”

Source: The Sun

What is the price of success? This age-old question is one of the themes in this grandiose and portentous pop star fable starring Natalie Portman and Jude Law.

Written and directed by actor-turned-filmmaker Brady Corbet, whose debut The Childhood of a Leader was a sinister period nightmare awarded best director and best first feature at Venice in 2015, Vox Lux bears some resemblance to Bradley Cooper’s A Star is Born — although twice as ambitious.

Cooper, after all, was not trying to talk about modern-day terrorism and the death throes of Western consumerism — just the loneliness of life at the top.

Corbet’s film is altogether more far-reaching.

While Childhood of a Leader was about characters bearing witness to some of the most disastrous moments of the early 20th century, Vox Lux is the same idea applied to our own era.

It begins with a “Prologue” title card, accompanied by ominous strings and Willem Dafoe’s voice-over introducing the protagonist, who we see in pastel home-video footage as a girl performing in a lounge room with a Christmas tree.

This is Celeste, and you’re made to understand trouble awaits her.

Corbet propels us next into a high school massacre — with jarring edits and unflinching violence — after which 14-year-old Celeste ends up with a bullet in her spine.

It’s the kind of shocking opening — misanthropic and coolly distant — that reminds you of a 21st-century Lars Von Trier (Dafoe’s narration underscores the impression).

Two more title cards, sectioning the film with biblical self-importance, “Genesis” and “Regenesis”, further cement this comparison.

The doe-eyed, pale-skinned Raffey Cassidy (The Killing of a Sacred Deer) plays Celeste in the first act, set in the late 1990s. She’s a suburban girl with a beautiful voice who’s catapulted to fame after a song she writes about the shooting with her sister (Stacy Martin) becomes a national hit, channelling the nation’s grief.

Jude Law plays her manager, the best character in the film, transforming from a strictly-business chaperone in the first half to an altogether more blurry manager/confidante in the second.

As an adult Celeste is played by Portman, an otherworldly beauty whose glamour is offset by a bratty, almost Jersey Shore vulgarity. In this section Cassidy plays her disaffected teen daughter.

Told with the right psychological nuance, this has the makings of quite a film.

But it’s clear Corbet has more on his mind than Celeste’s personal woes alone, and he pivots the story on the 9/11 attacks, whose aftershocks ricochet through his protagonist’s life in obviously symbolic ways.

Celeste goes from a fresh-faced teenager who’s a lightning rod for national pain, to a woman with a resentful streak, widely regarded with suspicion by the once-adoring public.

It’s a strange meld of macro and micro storytelling, in which Corbet is interrogating the act of myth-making — and how the news cycle turns on its heroes — while also asking questions about how America changed in the wake of 9/11.

He throws a tabloid scandal and another terrorist attack into the mix. Suddenly, Celeste has a PR crisis on her hands.

“I used to be treated like I was a hero,” complains Portman, with a similar anguish to her psychologically imploding ballet dancer in Black Swan.

On the eve of her character’s comeback tour for her new album, events conspire to derail her.

If you’re not quite sure what the film is saying, rest assured there are song lyrics to tell you. “I’m a private girl in a public world,” Celeste sings during the movie’s dreadfully shot concert finale (apparently real-life pop star Sia wrote material for the soundtrack, so not sure how this clanger made it through).

It’s a pity Corbet couldn’t dramatise this story of trauma and fame’s double-edged sword with more subtlety.

Portman, who gets an executive producer credit along with Law, is not the most multifaceted performer, and her part has been written in a way that’s mostly reactive, with not a lot to signal what’s going on beneath the surface. Corbet pushes some of Celeste’s most interesting dramas off screen, to be recounted in Dafoe’s gravelly narration, and we are left to fill in the gaps in her relationships with her family, manager and fans.

What does play out on screen is an interesting but never remarkable backstage drama in which Celeste and her manager try to manage family rifts, grapple with the media, get high and stagger to the gig.

The film’s central reference to 9/11 — and Celeste’s role as a symbol of American victimhood and exceptionalism — remains frustratingly underdeveloped, and sometimes banal.

Corbet’s film lacks the poetry or breathing space to make his statement more eloquently (a far superior film about consumerism, terrorism and youth culture is Nocturama, on Netflix). By the time his heroine is belting out her third-rate songs in a sequined jumpsuit, you can’t help but wish you’d stayed home.

Vox Lux is in cinemas from February 21.

Source: ABC News