GOING FOR THE GOLD
THE OSCAR WINNER DISHES ON MOTHERHOOD MARRIAGE AND HER NEW MOVIE. VOXLUX
Oscar winner Natalie Portman dishes on her buzzy new flick, parenthood and more.
Like most working moms, Natalie Portman tries her best to juggle her family and career. But at times, the Oscar-winning actress, 37, finds that it’s easier said than done. “I see other mothers do it, and they seem to manage, but it’s challenging. You have to make compromises,” says Natalie, who shares son Aleph, 7, and daughter Amalia, 21 months, with husband Benjamin Millepied. But no matter what, the star prioritizes what’s most important. “I am a mother,” she explains. “My kids always come first.” As she celebrates the release of new film Vox Lux (in theaters Dec. 7), Natalie gets candid about her life on and off camera.
In Vox Lux, you play a school shooting survivor who becomes a pop star. What drew you to this role?
I thought this was an incredible opportunity for me to play a character that is as complex as this one. I have never done this before. And that was very intriguing to me. A lot of the themes [in this film] are very relevant to the world we live in today, and I hadn’t seen [them] reflected before
Were you nervous about making a film that addresses such a violent issue?
We are losing more people to mass shootings these days than we are on the battlefield. There is a civil war going on at our schools; it’s just plain crazy. As a citizen, and as a mother of young children, I need to speak out against gun violence.
Is it true that the film almost didn’t happen?
Yes. I prepped the film twice. I was on the way to the airport and I received a phone call to turn around because financing had fallen through. So it got delayed by a couple of months, and I had to prep again. But that was kind of nice because I could prepare a bit longer.
This is also your fourth film with Jude Law.
Jude is phenomenal. He’s one of the kindest people I’ve ever met. We worked for the first time [almost] 20 years ago [on Cold Mountain]. We’re a great match when it comes to movies.
Did your part of the shoot really take only 10 days!
Yes! One of the shooting days was my daughter’s first birthday, and they sent me home early to be with my baby! I thought that was so sweet. I really appreciated that. It’s a great thing to work with people with big hearts.
What was it like filming near your childhood home on Long Island?
It was very easy to pick up my old accent. We stayed at a hotel where I used to always attend bar mitzvahs when I was younger. The guy at the front door remembered me. It felt like a true homecoming.
After 24 years in showbiz, what’s the secret to making a great film?
You always want to feel safe and wanted [on set]. If you feel that way, you feel at home immediately. In turn, that helps you give your best performance. A good director is always helpful, too.
PERFORMANCE PREP “Physically it was tough — lots of dance training, conditioning. Emotionally it was tough as well,” Natalie says of her role in Vox Lux.
“When I’m not working, I’m pretty much exclusively with my family,” says Natalie, in June with Aleph and Amalia.