I’m going to have a minitalk about Natalie Portman. I chose her because I think she’s one of the best actresses there is. I also thought it was interesting how she has reached this far in spite of her young age.
Natalie Portman is an Israeli-American actress. Her birthgiven name is Natalie Hershlag and she was born the 9th of July in 1981 in Jerusalem, Israel. Her father, Avner Hershlag, is an Israeli doctor specializing fertility and her mother, Shelley Stevens is an American homemaker.
When Natalie was only three years old, she and her family moved from Israel to the United States, more specifically Washington D.C. Although her family wasn’t so religious, she went to Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School. Portman once said “Although I really love the States… my heart is in Jerusalem. That’s where I feel home”. She doesn’t have any siblings but she is very attached to her parents and they are often seen with her at her film premieres. Portman always puts school and education first; she even skipped the premiere of Star Wars: Episode 1 so that she could study for her high school final exams. She studied at Harvard and graduated in 2003 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. As you see, she is extremely intelligent. In addition to being bilingual in Hebrew and English, she has studied French, Japanese, German and Arabic.
Natalie has been a vegetarian since she was eight and saw a demonstration of laser surgery on a chicken at a medical conference with her father. She is an eager advocate for animal rights. She doesn’t eat any meat, wear any fur or any skin. She also made her own brand of vegan footwear.
When Natalie was at the age of ten, an agent from a model agency asked her to become a model. But she turned him down, because she wanted to remain her focus on her acting. As a kid, she was unusual ambitious. She always knew what she wanted and what she liked. When the other kids were relaxing at the beach (and enjoying their free time), she always went to theatre camps whenever she had the chance.
Her first big movie role was in Léon (1994) at the age of thirteen. That’s a movie about an eleven year old girl who grows a friendship with a hit man after her family was brutally murdered by her fathers’ drug dealer. After this movie she took her grandmother’s maiden name “Portman” as her stage name, in the interest of privacy.
From 1995 to 1999 she played in several movies like Beautiful Girls and Mars Attacks! Portman played Anne Frank in a Broadway adaption of The Diary of Anne Frank. In the late 1990s, Portman got the role as Padmé Amidala in the Star Wars prequel trilogy. Portman has played with many well known actors such as Meryl Streep, Jude Law and Nicole Kidman.
In 2006, she took part in the film adaption of Alan Moore’s graphic novel V for Vendetta. For this role, she shaved her head. She got a lot of recognition for sacrificing that much for the role. In her newest movie; "The Other Boleyn Girl" she took part together with Scarlett Johansson.
In May 2008 Portman served as the youngest member of the 61st Annual Cannes Film Festival jury.