Complete with a gleaming smile and an unadulterated, Winona-like Fountain-of-Youth baby face, looking at Natalie Portman is like listening to ELO’s “Mr. Blue Sky” after nailing that long-awaited promotion or acing that advanced chemistry exam: pure bliss. With a beautiful youthfulness that can trick anyone into believing that they’re a pedophile, Natalie, who’s perfectly legal at 23, is also exceptionally mature and intelligent. Born in Jerusalem, Israel in 1981, Natalie’s family left for the United States when she was only three years old after he doctor father was offered a residency at a Maryland hospital. Discovered by a model scout at age eleven, Natalie quickly dumped the modeling gig and decided that she wanted to fulfill a career as an actress. After attending the Stage Door Manor Performing Camp the following three summers, the young squirt debuted in the 1994 film, “The Professional,” as a young girl who idolizes a hit man, and became an instant hit with critics all around the world. Taking her grandmother’s maiden name to protect her family from any shame and embarrassment, Natalie continued to make a name for her self in a number of star-studded films, including “Heat,” “Beautiful Girls” and “Mars Attacks!”
Within two quick years Natalie had become one of the youngest stars on the red carpet, but she failed to climb the Hollywood ladder when she turned down an important role in “Lolita” (due to the sexual tones of the film) and was denied “Romeo and Juliet” because of her age difference to Leo. After staying away from film for three years, Natalie was offered the biggest role of her career when she signed on to play the role of Queen Amidala in George Lucas’ “Star Wars” prequel, “The Phantom Menace.” The cast and crew received plenty of bad criticism after the release of the first film, but Natalie continued to protect Lucas' project with a genuine respect for the director’s storytelling abilities. Getting ready for yet another Hollywood comeback after the success of 2003’s “Cold Mountain” and the indie hit, “Garden State,” Natalie is an extremely talented actress whohas become one of the leading actresses in Hollywood.
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Natalie on the Web
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Natalie on the Screen
Natalie's film career has had plenty of bumps along the way, jumping back and forth between amazing dramatic performances to gaudy romantic comedies targeted towards brainless thirteen-year-old girls. Her resume isn't very long to begin with, but she's certainly formed a commendable list over the past decade. Debuting as the wannabe, teenage assassin in "Leon: The Professional," Natalie quickly proved to critics that she wasn't afraid of snatching up juicy, but risque roles. She followed up her critically acclaimed performance with smaller roles as teenage eye candy in "Heat" and the much underrated "Beautiful Girls." Her most important role of her career is certainly not her best, but after winning the role of Queen Amidala in George Lucas' prequel trilogy to the original "Star Wars" series, Natalie was prodded into the limelight as a genuine star. Then Natalie wowed audiences in the Oscar-nominated "Cold Mountain," and then went on to co-star in the Zach Braff-directed film, "Garden State," giving one of the best performances of the year and of her career.
Now Natlie is one of the biggest stars in Hollywood.
"I'm going to college. I don't care if it ruins my career. I'd rather be smart than a movie star."
On being a career actress:
"There's so much else to do in the world. To just be interested in doing films would limit my life."
On looking good:
"Sometimes I think people who are unattractive have it easier."
Talking about her "Star Wars" action figure:
"In the year 2000, someone is going to get me as a Christmas present."