11/18/10-by Bridgette P. LaVictoire
By the time that Phantom Menace hit the screens to much jubilation, disappointment, and questions about what in the name of all that was holy on fifteen world George Lucas was thinking, Natalie Portman has already spent more time in front of the camera than Lucas had directing. She had already held her own against two of Hollywood’s heavyweights- Jean Reno and Gary Oldman, done a film with Al Pacino, Robert De Niro and Val Kilmer, and done a film that will go down as one of Tim Burton’s biggest all-star mistakes.
It is her portrayal of a tormented ballerina in Darren Aronovsky’s “Black Swan” that is currently earning her a great deal of buzz and a lot of talk about possibly getting some really nice awards. Portman stars opposite Mila Kunis in the film, and it is the very sapphic love scene between the two that is generating the biggest buzz for the film. She recently told V Magazine that the scene is “not raunchy – it’s extreme.” Which may prove right.
While the much discussed scene is gathering its share of perverse male fantasy goers, it is also gathering quite a following within the lesbian community. Certainly a number of us are thrilled to see such a talented actress willing to portray someone who is at least experimenting with her sexuality. Of course, portraying or even being lesbian in real life is certainly not a career killer- just ask Annette Benning and Jane Lynch.
Ms Portman, though, does note that she has been notoriously reluctant to take on roles that show nudity or sex. Part of it has had to do with the fact that the actress, who is now twenty-nine, was growing up on screen and she says “I was figuring out my own sexual identity, likes and dislikes and all that stuff, and it’s weird to be doing stuff on film as you’re figuring it out.”
The biggest reason for her objection to on screen nudity, though, comes from something more insidious, and that is the problem of exploitation. She says “It’s annoying, because online bulls**t interferes with what I want to do artistically. I’m not opposed to sexuality or nudity in a film, but I’m very opposed to pornography sites and you’re pretty much giving them material if you do any of that. It’s always a big dilemma for me.”
Portman recently finished filming “Your Highness”, a fantasy film that co-stars Zooey Deschanel (sister of “Bones” star Emily), James Franco and Danny McBride.