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The Schmooze

Natalie Portman: ‘What’s Revolutionary For Us Is Daily Life for Men’

If there was one woman impatient for time to be up in Hollywood, it was certainly Natalie Portman. The actress has been on the front lines of the recent activism that has swept Hollywood since the October Weinstein bombshell.

In a new Buzzfeed interview, Portman continues to air her rage and indignation for all the world to read. One of her primary grievances against the film industry is the underrepresentation of women across all positions.

“What feels so revolutionary for us is daily life for men,” said Portman. “Men are used to sitting around a table with all men, men are used to being at work with all men; for us, it feels radical. I’ve had wonderful male mentorships, wonderful male colleagues — that exists. But we’ve completely lost female mentorship, and missed out because you just don’t get exposed to it as much. It’s just rarer because of the lower percentage of women in every position of power.”

Portman’s upcoming movie, “Annihilation”, features five women in leading roles, an opportunity that Portman says is tragically rare. More often, she’s the only woman in the room.

Portman also talks about finding inspiration in Reese Witherspoon, an actress who started producing her own films after seeing a dearth of good scripts for women, especially women getting older.

“I get a lot more than a lot of other women, and the stuff I get, I’m like, what? With big leading roles, so often motivations are bad things happening to the children. I don’t want to play that! Literally, if you take that out, 90% of what’s sent to me, I can’t do. Or sexual violence. The number of times you’re raped onscreen — there are other things that can motivate women and shape their emotional worlds. It’s definitely limited.”

When asked about signing the 2009 Roman Polanski petition, Portman is blunt about her regret. Her response to a question about whether or not Woody Allen’s career should be over, however, is less direct.

“I don’t think that’s what the conversation should be about. I think it should be about: Why didn’t Elaine May make a movie every year? Why didn’t Nora Ephron make a movie every year? Where’s the female version of Bill Cosby? Why don’t we see any Asian women in films? There’s so much art that’s being lost by not giving opportunities to women and people of color. Let’s not talk about what man’s career is over.”

Let’s hope that Natalie Portman and her allies will create a Hollywood that will be chock-full of solid roles for little girls and elderly women alike.

Becky Scott is the editor of The Schmooze. Follow her on Twitter, @arr_scott


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