Golden Globes 2015 Best Show Moments

Golden Globes 2015 Best Show Moments 2015

Natalie Portman

When you’ve acted for a while, even private life can start to feel like a series of reshoots. One day Natalie Portman might open the mail to find a big-budget check; next take, there’s a letter from a man describing how he’s incorporated her screen image into some low-budget fantasies of his own. (“You can use your imagination,” Portman frowns. “I’m sure a lot of them have psychological problems.”) On Halloween, Portman can open her door to see hundreds of girls tricked up to look like Amidala, the queen she played in Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace. Another night, she’ll attend a mock trial at her East Coast university celebrity lawyers defending criminals of the past and somebody’s Jewish grandmother will pick her out of the crowd. “You’re Natalie Portman?” the woman asked. “I just wanted to thank you,” she said. “For being so short.”

The actress’s laugh is surprisingly throaty. “All my friends were making so much fun of me,” she says. “I was like, ‘First of all, I’m a good five inches taller than you.’”

Portman, 21, who can’t be much taller than five three, has flown to New York to do some business and promote the latest Star Wars episode, Attack ofthe Clones, her ninth movie in eight years. “I learned early on to separate myself into two really distinct people,” she says. There’s the Natalie who’s done her growing up before our eyes, in the terrarium of Hollywood, where each new movie has been like a knuckle rapping on the glass: Hey, what’s she doing now? And then there’s the school-year Natalie, who hit the books, took SATs, and, while some of her classmates were voted most likely to live on the beach, got named most likely to be a guest on Jeopardy. “Because everyone was saying, ‘Natalie, you’re the biggest nerd,’ ” she says.

The Natalie who steps into a downtown restaurant is a parent’s dream bright, poised, attentive to others’ needs. “I hope you like this restaurant,” she says, unfolding her napkin. “There are so many pretentious places around here, or, like, seamy places.” But Portman is also a college student, around the age when that parent’s-dream part of a girl is disappearing, a face waving from the back window of a car. The school Natalie is the one interviewers write around, while carefully side-stepping the word boring. “I mean, usually, the things that set you apart are sort of what make you intriguing,” she explains. “But when that thing is that you don’t smoke and you don’t drink and you are studious…”

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