During the mid to late 2000’s, Natalie Portman saw a degree of mainstream success that many actresses would die for. Following some high profile roles, most notably one in the Star Wars film franchise, Portman was able to ascend the ranks of Hollywood to become one of the most popular faces around. However, in more recent years, she has appeared in film roles a bit more sparingly, and the films that she does appear in aren’t always popular in the mainstream. What has she been up to lately? In this article, I’ll discuss Natalie’s rise to success while also discussing where she will be taking her acting career in the next year or so.
Natalie Portman’s Early Life and Career
Natalie Portman was born as Neta-Lee Hershlag in June of 1981 in Jerusalem. Her mother is an American homemaker, and her father is an Israeli gynecologist. Her and her family originally lived in Washington, D.C., where Natalie went to the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School, which is in Maryland. When her family moved to New York in 1990, Natalie attended the Solomon Schechter Day School of Nassau County, which is a Jewish elementary school. The Portman family remained in New York for a great deal of time. When Natalie was just four years old, she developed a keen interest in dance. At the age of 10, she auditioned for a role in Ruthless!, which featured a young lead. She didn’t receive the role, but ended up being an understudy to Laura Bell Bundy alongside Britney Spears.
Shortly after that, she was able to attain her first role in the film Leon: The Professional. In the film, she played an orphan child who befriends Jean Reno’s character. Once she had earned this role, Natalie made the decision to take her paternal grandmother’s maiden name as something of a stage name. The name Natalie Hershlag, she realized, was much too distinctive. She wanted to protect the privacy of herself and of her family, and so from then on, she was known in the public as Natalie Portman. The film debuted in 1994, and this would mark the first of many films that she would appear in. True, in the years to come, she would make small appearances in many other movies, including the likes of Heat, Mars Attacks!, and Beautiful Girls.
Portman would nail down one of her largest breakout roles in 1997, when she was given the opportunity to play Padme Amidala in the Star Wars prequel trilogy. The trilogy, which was highly anticipated by fans of the science fiction series, began with Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace. Funnily enough, Natalie missed the world premiere of this film so that she could study for her high school finals. A common theme throughout Natalie’s career is a desire to have a strong education along with a strong acting portfolio. She took on another significant role with Anywhere but Here, which opened in 1999 along with The Phantom Menace. Portman received massive critical acclaim for her performance, and she actually ended up earned a Golden Globe nomination for it. With these two movies, Portman would see her career pick up drastically.
Natalie Portman in the 2000’s
Portman’s career slowed down a bit through the early 2000’s when she decided to take a break from acting in order to focus on her college education. She was studying at Harvard University, where she was majoring in psychology. Aside from the Star Wars films, which she was already committed to, Natalie didn’t do much of anything during this time aside from study. During her summer break in 2000, she took the time to film Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones. Other side projects that she took on during this time included The Seagull, a Public Theater production where she performed alongside Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman, and some independent appearances in films like Closer and Garden State. Her work in Closer earned Portman a Golden Globe, along with an Academy Award nomination.
Portman’s final Star Wars appearnce released in 2005 as Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith. From then on, she was able to obtain even greater mainstream success. In 2006, she appeared in the critically acclaimed film V for Vendetta, where in an iconic scene, her head was shaved. In 2007, she appeared in the family movie Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium alongside Dustin Hoffman and Jason Bateman. Due to her success in independent productions, Natalie was actually chosen to be a jury member during the 61st Annual Cannes Film Festival. This was an incredibly high honor. Deciding to take her career to the next level, in 2008 Portman made her directorial debut with the short film Eve, which premiered during the 65th Venice International Film Festival.
Natalie saw arguably her most iconic role in 2010, when she starred in the film Black Swan. The movie, which was just as acclaimed as it was controversial, earned Portman countless awards and nominations. The role was physically challenging for her, as it required her to go through intense dance training on a regular basis. In 2011, she starred in the romantic comedy No Strings Attached alongside Ashton Kutcher. No Strings Attached was panned critically, but financially successful. She acquired another long-term franchise role as Jane Foster in the Thor Marvel film franchise. In 2013, she announced that she would be directing her first major feature film with A Tale of Love and Darkness, adapting an autobiographical novel of the same name.
However, as far as the general public is concerned, Portman dropped off of the map for a significant period of time. She continued to appear in the Thor movies, with her most recent reprise coming in 2013. She was meant to star in the film Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, but she ended up just producing for the film. In 2015, she appeared in the critically mixed Terrence Malick film Knight of Cups. Considering the fact that the film never really reached major theaters, few people heard about it. How many projects does she currently have in the pipes? What has Natalie Portman been up to recently?
What’s Natalie Portman Doing Now in 2018 – Recent Updates
Fans of Natalie Portman should be happy to know that, regardless of what you’ve been seeing, she’s still been keeping herself very busy. In 2016, she starred in the film Jane Got a Gun. The film was a box office bomb, however, and it unfortunately isn’t much of a surprise that most people don’t even know she appeared in it. In late 2016, she appeared in Jackie, a film following the life of Jackie Kennedy following her husband’s assassination. The film was released wide in December, and Portman has received rave reviews for her portrayal of the former first lady.
She is currently set to have a busy 2017, appearing in three different films: Weightless, Annihilation, and The Death and Life of John F. Donovan. Weightless is another Terrence Malick film, this one featuring an ensemble cast that includes the likes of Rooney Mara, Ryan Gosling, and Val Kilmer. It is currently set to release in March of 2017. Annihilation is a science fiction film that is currently in post-production, where Portman will star alongside Oscar Isaac and Jennifer Jason Leigh. The Death and Life of John F. Donavan is a Canadian film starring Kit Harington, and it is still currently filming. Even though she may not be in the news as often as she used to be, I can tell you with utmost confidence that Natalie Portman’s career in film is still in full swing.