Natalie Portman Says ‘Star Wars’ Damaged Her Acting Career

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Natalie Portman revealed that her role in the ‘Star Wars’ prequel trilogy temporarily damaged her career.

Natalie Portman has admitted that her performance on George Lucas’s Star Wars was hated and it damaged her career. Portman played Queen Padmé Amidala in 1999’s Episode I: The Phantom Menace and reprised the role for Lucas’s subsequent films in the prequel trilogy, 2002’s Episode II: Attack of the Clones and 2005’s Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.

Everett Collection /
Everett Collection /

Star Wars had come out around the time of Seagull, and everyone thought I was a horrible actress,” Portman recalled in an interview with New York magazine. “I was in the biggest-grossing movie of the decade, and no director wanted to work with me. Mike wrote a letter to [fellow director] Anthony Minghella and said, ‘Put her in Cold Mountain, I vouch for her.’ And then Anthony passed me on to [another director] Tom Tykwer, who passed me on to the Wachowskis.” Natalie Portman continued: “I worked with [Czech director] Milos Forman a few years later. He said, ‘Mike saved me. He wrote a letter so that I could get asylum in the US’. He did that for 50 people, and it doesn’t make any one of us feel less special.”

Natalie Portman would later go on to earn a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for her performance in 2004’s Closer, which was directed by Nichols, and then later receive the Best Actress prize six years later for her work in Black Swan. Like her fellow stars in the Star Wars prequels, Ewan McGregor and Liam Neeson, she will not be returning for next year’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which is being directed by JJ Abrams.

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