Category: Interview

Press: Natalie Portman on the gender equality revolution, working with Beyoncé’s dancers and how she’s raising her children

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

Press: Natalie Portman on Not Reading Her Press — and That Vox Lux Accent

Press: Natalie Portman on Not Reading Her Press — and That Vox Lux Accent

For Natalie Portman in the year 2018, conventional movie stardom is a home she can always return to. As of late, however, she’s preferred to restrict herself to the occasional visit. The gaps between straight-down-the-middle studio projects have gotten wider, even though her presence at multiplexes never quite fades. It’s been five years since her last appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But as an actress with the name recognition to get stranger, smaller movies the green light, she’s grown judicious and adventurous in her role selection.

Her CV contains all the typical beats of your standard-issue A-lister résumé, just in their most unlikely or sophisticated form. These days, her version of a popcorn picture would be something like Annihilation, a heart-of-darkness march into the metaphysical unknown more conceptual than most modern sci-fi by half. Her take on Oscar bait would be Jackie, an elliptical meditation on grief and historicity which avoided cliché so defiantly that it polarized actual awards voters. Where other actors dabble in directing with glossy vanity projects, she returned to Israel to adapt a difficult novel for a film she didn’t even bother pushing all that hard in American theaters. Her peers might try to stretch their range with the occasional art film; she’s charted the limits of sense and experience in two collaborations with Terrence Malick.

Then there’s Vox Lux, a polarizing work of such ambition that it couldn’t possibly fit in the preceding paragraph. The first half follows a teenage girl named Celeste (Raffey Cassidy) through the crucible of tragedy along with her first steps as a newly minted pop star. Around the midway point, Brady Corbet’s film smash cuts forward 16 years and Portman steers the character into a downward spiral. The adult Celeste has a drinking problem, a drug problem, a being-a-negligent-mother problem, a terrorism problem, and a slew of other mental stressors that start to bear down on her as she readies her new concert tour. Here, Portman’s proficiency with women on the edge led to one of the most indelible performances of a challenging, unpredictable career.

During an interview with Vulture one frigid afternoon at Manhattan’s Whitby Hotel — a stone’s throw from the towering Sixth Avenue office buildings in which a guileless Celeste signs away her soul to the record executives — Portman talked all things Vox Lux, from her Noo Yawk accent to the massively scaled concert concluding the film to Celeste’s real-world inspiration. (Or lack thereof.)

First things first: the accent. Could you walk us through the process of forming Celeste’s voice?
I worked with my same dialect coach that I had on Jackie and Planetarium. She got dialects from a very specific subset of Staten Island, and then we just went full force with it. Because from the time she’s a kid, she’s exaggerating it in a way that makes it like an armor. There are people who, when they become famous, want to emphasize that they’re still from the street. It’s a shield of authenticity, and then the toughness also gives her more of a don’t-mess-with-me vibe. But of course, it’s transparently a performance. She’s on all the time.

I spoke with the director last week, and he had mentioned seeing some misinterpretations of the film. Have you found that dramatic choices like this can sometimes be misconstrued?
Hmm, I don’t know, if only because I don’t read the things people write about me.

That sounds healthy.
Oh, yeah. You latch onto the negative and ignore the positive, so I don’t find it to be helpful if it just makes me self-conscious. Plus, at this point, you’re not pointing out anything we can fix. I can’t go back in the film and change my accent. It doesn’t feel constructive, so I don’t have much of an idea of the reception apart from the interviews I’ve been doing, and face to face, people tend to be pretty friendly.

What’s been more interesting to me is how people make parallels to other roles I’ve done. People can draw thematic links that I’m too close to notice myself. I find all of this productive, more so than getting feedback on my portrayal. Pointing out running threads in my career makes me aware of what kinds of roles I’m drawn to, which I’m not really conscious of. I see my own tendencies more clearly.

The film being structured as it is, jumping from Celeste as a kid to her self-destructive adulthood, suggests that fame has had a poisonous effect on her over time. You’re someone who began acting at a very young age; was this something that you were mindful of, or made a conscious effort to avoid?

There are so many pop-culture stories of the child star flameout, the whole starlet gone wrong is a classic narrative in both music and Hollywood. I was definitely aware of that much, and my parents were hyperaware, so there was plenty of counterprogramming to my work.

Come to think of it, we don’t see much of Celeste’s parents at all in the film.
That was an active decision on [director] Brady [Corbet]’s part. We did interviews together earlier and he was talking about this exact thing, that he didn’t want to provide any easy answers, or fingers to point. That would be such a Western Intro to Psychology way to read the movie, like, “It was the parents! Of course!” To paraphrase what he said, some parents aren’t good or bad, they’re just neutral forces in their kids’ lives. They’re just there. Celeste isn’t a tragic victim of circumstance, either. She has an agency, a hand in her own demise. It empowers her, in a destructive sense.

My favorite scene might be when Celeste has the tantrum in the dressing room before the show. It feels unbound from realism, in a more accented style of performance. Is there an expressionistic quality to your acting?
Brady talks about the first half of the movie being in a minimalist mode, and the second half in a maximalist mode. It’s all extremes, and that goes for the acting as well. A lot of the stylistic choices — the fact that nobody ages in the film except Celeste, for one — there’s a purposeful fabulist side to it. So when my character calls for it, I take them a step back from reality. I think movies have lost a lot from trying to be naturalistic. Now, there are many films in a more naturalistic style that I love and move me a great deal, but there should be room for art on both sides of that divide. Most of the history of film is in the non-realistic world, tied up in fantasy and metaphor and fable. We got a lot of latitude from Celeste’s mantra, “They wanted a show, I gave ‘em a show.”

There’s a feedback mechanism, and this is what Brady means when he talks about the “pageantry of evil,” where people get rewarded with attention for bad behavior. The more outrageous, the more obnoxious, the more vulgar a figure can be, the more energy we spend on thinking and talking about them. It keeps cycling back into itself, and Celeste has already been through that cycle a lot of times in the second half.

I’ve seen a lot of interest in pinning the model for Celeste on a real-world pop star, and I wanted to offer you a chance to go on record.
No, there’s no one inspiration. Brady talks about her as an avatar for America. There’s not even a single pop star working right now that you could put your finger on. There are elements reminiscent of recurring tropes in pop stardom, the spiraling star who pulls it together, so you get shades from plenty of familiar stories. But these are archetypal. She’s not supposed to be a stand-in for anybody from the modern climate of pop music.

After having done Black Swan, was the lengthy final performance no big deal?
It was a very big deal! Going into any of these situations requires a great deal of ignorance about the scope of what will actually be expected of you. If you know what it’s going to entail, you’d never agree to it. But you go in blind, like, “Sure, I can figure this out in a month!” and then you just trust the experts around you and the [waves hand] magic of cinema. But this was a whole different variety of performing for me, learning the songs and recording and lip-sync training and moving with the other dancers. Keeping up the stamina for these rehearsals and the shoots gave me a new respect for what touring singers and dancers do.

My voice makes me want to jump out of my skin when I’m transcribing the recordings of interviews. How’d it feel to hear yourself for the first time in the final mixed recording, with all the Auto-Tune?
Oh, this was very fun! Because I had spent the studio sessions constantly apologizing, “I’m so sorry you have to listen to this,” and the song’s producer was like, “Ha! Don’t you worry your little head.” But then, when I heard it, I was thrilled. I asked Brady, when he first offered me the role, if he needed to hear me sing. And he just said, “That doesn’t matter.” In that moment, what he was going for started to make more sense to me.

Do you consider the ending to be redemptive for Celeste?
I do not. I think back to what Raffey says as Celeste in the beginning, “I don’t want them to think too much, I just want them to have fun.” That’s the voice of light: after all of this reflection about the world we live in, you can shut that off and escape into the music.

But isn’t there something solipsistic about shutting off, when we’ve just seen how dire things can be out in the world?

Yes, but there’s a beauty to it also. Maybe there is, you know, “the power of art” to help you find light when you’re in darkness. We see some reaction shots of the crowd, and they’re losing themselves in their love for Celeste, as if the world inside that stadium isn’t so dire. The scene’s not meant to be sarcastic, and neither is Raffey’s statement.

By anyone’s measure, Vox Lux is a dense film. Did you and Brady do much talking about big-picture stuff, subtext and whatnot?
What we spent the most time discussing was how this film occupies the space between the wars of this century. His first film, Childhood of a Leader, bridged the period between World War I and World War II. He wanted to know what conflicts could define the 21st century in the same way those defined the 20th. The war on our soil is mass shootings, and the foreign war is terror. How do we bridge the cultural gap between them using this character, is the main question that the film poses. That fascinated me. You don’t often get to think about film with this framing.

Source: Vulture

Press: Natalie Portman On Midterm Elections, Inclusion Riders, ‘Jane Got A Gun’ & Glamming It Up For ‘Vox Lux’

Press: Natalie Portman On Midterm Elections, Inclusion Riders, ‘Jane Got A Gun’ & Glamming It Up For ‘Vox Lux’

As an actress, Natalie Portman has never been short of audaciousness, from her breakthrough role aged 12 as a precocious assassin in Léon: The Professional, to the role that won her the Oscar, as a masochistic ballerina in Black Swan, to her turn as Jackie Kennedy in Jackie. She builds on this repertoire of complex protagonists with Brady Corbet’s Vox Lux, in which she plays Celeste, the survivor of a brutal school shooting who becomes a pop superstar after she writes and records a heartfelt anthem for the victims. The film is a commentary on the loss of innocence, set against the backdrop of our nation’s tragic gun culture and obsession with celebrity.

Did you know Brady Corbet before this project? Were you looking to do a musically-themed movie?

I watched his film [The Childhood of a Leader] and was really impressed by his work. His writing [in Vox Lux] was so specific and great. I would say the words as I was reading the screenplay; both the form of how Celeste says words and how she speaks in a specific manner. And she’s monologuing all the time. The content that she’s saying; she’s an incredible character and sometimes says nonsense, and sometimes says really insightful things all mixed together. It was a childhood dream come true to get to sing, like singing with a brush in front of the mirror, but I wouldn’t categorize this movie as a musical.

How does the PTSD from the school shooting impact her as she gets older?

It definitely affects her. Whenever we go through devastation, it haunts us, but she picks herself up. Because she had the experience, it becomes like a common occurrence, and people learn to live with the most extraordinary circumstances.

Production was delayed due to financing dropping out. How did that time off further assist in your preparation?

I was on my way to the airport to fly to New York when they called me, and I turned around and went back home. I had prepped everything, but had to prep again and I worked on the accent. In preparing the choreography we had three or four weeks with Benjamin [Millepied]. He was working with his company at the same time. He’d teach me and then I’d rehearse with movement trainer Raquel Horsford. I also did five or six recording sessions.

What rock musical documentaries did you watch in preparing to play Celeste?

I watched all the top ones, but I don’t really feel that she’s based on a particular person at all. I learned a lot about the lifestyle of what they’re doing, the rigor of being on the road, the taxing shows night after night, all the work and preparation, the dynamic relationship between all of the people a pop star travels, lives and works with; the family members and how they fit in. Sometimes they work for the pop star. Having difficult relationships with siblings seemed to be a recurring theme. I picked up on all their small behavior.

Being politically active, how did you feel after the midterm elections?

I feel excited about the many types of people who are representing more of what America looks like. The typical make-up of our government is slowly looking more like the make-up of our country. [Editor’s note: In an election record, 101 women won seats in the U.S. House of Representatives including such landmarks with the first female Muslims, Native American and youngest candidate being elected.]

Being an active member of Time’s Up, do you find that there’s any resistance from the industry in the campaign for inclusion riders on productions?

There is a resistance because I think a lot of people are making the argument that you’re hiring someone for their talent, not for their gender. Of course, I don’t think that anyone thinks the argument should ignore bias. There’s the great orchestra example which started a few years ago. The top orchestras were entirely male and what they started doing were auditions behind a curtain to judge the listening of the music. Suddenly there was a 50/50 parity in the make-up of their orchestras. They didn’t realize the unconscious bias against women. Most industries can’t do job interviews behind a curtain. It goes to show that we have so much bias in not recognizing talent and allowing it to express itself. Of course, no one wants to get a job because of their marginalization, you want to get the job because of your talent. But there are so many who don’t get the opportunity since they are marginalized, and there are those who actually appreciate others’ values, talent and voices.

Roles for women—have they improved since you first began in this business?

I think it’s still really challenging, there’s a lot of tropes that are repeated and revisited. Also for women of color, it’s extremely difficult to be represented. However, this year, we saw the first Asian-American female story to be told by a studio in 25 years [Crazy Rich Asians]. Latinos are even more poorly represented; that is something people aren’t being shown at all. But white women are the most represented of all the women and it’s a challenging thing to show a full humanity. So, I think there’s a lot to be done when it comes to giving more opportunities to other people, and allowing people from all types of experiences to tell their stories.

You have increasingly become more involved as a producer on the projects you star in. What do you love about that part of the job, and does it help to have a voice in productions when they become challenged, as was the case on Jane Got a Gun?

It’s nice to be a part of projects I believe in and can help shepherd, even if I’m not the director or writer. I’m still learning and I’m not one to claim something when I have so much to learn. With Jane Got a Gun, that started with a lot of genuine interest in the creative process, and turned into a harrowing experience for everyone involved. I don’t look at that as any sort of victory. It was very challenging and humbling, an experience where you learn how much you can be better and how much you still have to learn.

Will you direct again?

Yes, but I’m not sure what.

Has there ever been any talk of doing a sequel to your first breakout film Léon: The Professional, where we see a much older Mathilda?

There was a little bit of talk about that at one point, but I don’t have any plans to do that project.

Source: Deadline

Press: Natalie Portman and Raffey Cassidy on ‘Vox Lux’ and the Film’s Dark, Violent Opening

Director Brady Corbet‘s Vox Lux is like the warped, nasty sibling of A Star Is Born. The film starts, quite literally, with a bang, when teenager Celeste (Raffey Cassidy) is the sole survivor of a school shooting. Footage of Celeste singing at a memorial service sweeps the nation, blasting the young girl into the pop-star stratosphere thanks to Jude Law‘s savvy talent manager. Flash-forward a decade or two and Celeste—now played by Natalie Portman, going all out for this role—is a Gaga-esque superstar, but the years in-between have sharpened her naive edges into something much more tragic. Vox Lux has been pretty divisive among critics, but I really dug it; like Celeste herself, the film is a wicked piece of work, but you have to admire its ambition.

Before Vox Lux‘s debut, I sat down with Natalie Portman and Raffey Cassidy to discuss the film. Check out what they had to say in the player above and below is exactly what we talked about.

Natalie Portman and Raffey Cassidy:

  • Their thoughts while reading the script’s jarring opening for the first time.
  • How the film uses a lot of long takes where the camera is following the performers from behind.
  • Their perspective on the film’s line about pop music: “I don’t want people to have to think too much, I just want them to feel good.”
  • Why the film makes a point several times to show that Celeste has lost her hotel room key.
  • Balancing complex dance choreography with staying in character.
  • VOX LUX, A 20th Century Portrait, begins in 1999 when teenage Celeste (Raffey Cassidy) survives a violent tragedy. After singing at a memorial service, Celeste transforms into a burgeoning pop star with the help of her songwriter sister (Stacy Martin) and talent manager (Jude Law). Celeste’s meteoric rise to fame dovetails with a personal and national loss of innocence, consequently elevating the young powerhouse to a new kind of celebrity: American icon, secular deity, global superstar.

    By 2017, adult Celeste (Natalie Portman) is mounting a comeback after a scandalous incident almost derailed her career. Touring in support of her sixth album, a compendium of sci-fi anthems entitled, “Vox Lux,” the indomitable, foul-mouthed pop savior must overcome her personal and familial struggles to navigate motherhood, madness and monolithic fame.

    Featuring original songs by Sia, an original score by Scott Walker and a transcendent performance by Natalie Portman – VOX LUX personifies the cult of celebrity and pummels the zeitgeist, it’s an original story about the forces that shape us, as individuals and nations.”

    Source: Collider

    Press/Video: Natalie Portman and Raffey Cassidy on singing, screaming, and crying for Vox Lux

    Natalie Portman and Raffey Cassidy’s new film, Vox Lux, follows the rise of aspiring entertainer Celeste, from the ashes of a major national tragedy to pop superstardom. With the film in theaters today, we sat down with Portman and Cassidy about the film, and the demands of their performances.

    Source A.V. Club