The Schmooze

Natalie Portman on Playing Jackie O, Working with Mike Nichols and Female Leadership

Participating in a Hollywood Reporter Actress Round Table with Emma Stone, Taraji P. Henson, Annette Bening, Naomi Harris, Isabelle Huppert, and Amy Adams, Natalie Portman unleashed a demand for an increased emphasis on female leadership, especially in local communities.

In an abridged transcript of the conversation, Portman had a serious answer to a question on whether the participants had goals they’d like to accomplish unrelated to acting.

“It feels very urgent right now to make change in local communities,” she said. “Right now it feels really important to push female leadership. We need to teach girls to be bosses now. Now. Like yesterday.”

The roundtable touched on a number of serious subjects, like the delicacy, for Harris, of playing a crack addict in Barry Jenkins’s “Moonlight,” and the question of whether the film industry is “doing enough for black actors.”

Portman’s comments were the one moment in the published excerpt at which the discussion turned to tension in the United States over female leadership, which gained new prominence with Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

Portman also discussed one of her favorite movie performances of all time (Emily Watson’s performance in the 1996 film “Breaking the Waves”), the surprising liberty of playing Jackie Onassis in the upcoming film “Jackie” (“maybe it was freeing, in a way, knowing she wasn’t going to watch it”), and the lasting impact of her friendship with the late director Mike Nichols (“One of the things that most surprised me was that when he passed, there were so many people who [thought] he was the most important person in their life”).

The full televised roundtable airs on SundanceTV in late January. In the meantime, read the excerpted transcript here.

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Natalie Portman on Playing Jackie O, Working with Mike Nichols and Female Leadership

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