Some actors you love for what they bring on screen. And a few you love for a lot more than that. After a recent viewing of the trailer of the upcoming Jane Got a Gun, I realised how much I have come to love and respect Natalie Portman. Not only because she totes the eponymous gun and mouths the accent (it does sound a bit over the top, but hey, it’s a new avatar all the same), but how she is slowly and steadily coming up as an actor you start associating with good projects. And though Jane Got a Gun is replete with other established actors like Joel Edgarton, here’s a rundown on why I would see it just the sake of Portman.
She is the coolest actress I’ve read about (barring perhaps Emma Watson – she is yet to catch up). The lady skipped the premier of the first blockbuster movie of her career, Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, so that she could study for her high school finals. She went on to graduate from the Harvard University in psychology. Education, in short, has been as big a part of her career till date as have been movies. I know, you would probably question what has that to do with her acting skills, but you must admit, that to be so deeply involved in academics and also to be a big part of this story-telling universe called Hollywood at the same time is an interesting combination, not often witnessed in full.
#2 Star Wars
The next big step, in my opinion, is her place in the Star Wars universe. Admittedly, her generation of Star Wars is dripping with corny dialogues and cornier characters (the stories per se are quite fine actually), but there is an immense satisfaction and security in knowing that Padmé Amidala bore Luke and Leia, both of whom turned out to be pretty awesome, notwithstanding the crazed father. Portman played the strong queen and a devoted wife with authority and her character’s resemblance with the fiery Princess Leia is hard to miss.
She freaked me out in Black Swan. That’s saying something for any actor. And with the same ease, she stood up opposite Ashton Kutcher in No Strings Attached, preventing the movie from degenerating into something altogether cringe-worthy. She plays the girl-next-door without any efforts, but when the time comes, Portman has shown the ability to bring out the edgier side of her skills. And don’t forget going bald for V for Vendetta, in another remarkable role.
#4 Being Jane
As a different Jane, she rocks as Thor’s earthling girlfriend. She looks nearly regal enough in a cape, but nothing suits her scientist-look better than plaids and boots. The punch she landed on Loki is akin to the one that Emma Watson’s Hermione threw at Tom Felton’s Draco Malfoy. The toughness isn’t just imagined and both actresses do a brilliant job of letting their deep-felt emotional sides surface.
#5 Short and yet tall
Not that it matters, but she is short for a Hollywood actress (she is 5’3”) and still, by way of her performances, she towers over most of her male colleagues. That’s inspiration enough for “little” girls everywhere!
There’s a big lineup of Natalie Portman movies to look forward to beginning with Jane Got A Gun releasing this month, followed by a Terrence Malick untitled movie, a drama-fantasy film called Planetarium, a biopic on Jacqueline Kennedy with Portman in the lead role, and the sci-fi thriller Annihilation. The more, the better, I say. My admiration for her is only going to swell!