Since winning her Oscar for “Black Swan,” in 2011, it feels like Natalie Portman’s been quiet: the only theatrically-released movies she’s appeared in since then were the two “Thor” films and “Your Highness,” two of which were shot before “Black Swan” was released.
But though it might not seem that way, she’s been very busy, first with the birth of her child, then with a series of long-delayed projects (two films for Terence Malick, including “Knight Of Cups,” which screened at Berlin but won’t go on release til next year, plus “Jane Got A Gun,” which is still in limbo over two years after it started filming), and her directorial debut, the Amos Oz adaptation “A Tale Of Love And Darkness.”
Portman has been at TIFF with the film this week (read our review), and the actress has been talking about the movie, discussing with Screen Daily how Israel is a good place to be a female director (“Women are bossy there so there was no situation where I would ever feel like people weren’t listening to me”), and the lessons she learnt from the late Mike Nichols, who she worked with on “Closer,” and “Black Swan” helmer Darren Aronofsky. Much more amusingly, Portman also talked about the self-esteem blow struck from watching “Broad City.”
Like all right-thinking people, Portman is a fan of Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson’s Comedy Central cult show, but was taken aback when the series made a joke about one of her previous roles. Discussing Zach Braff’s “Garden State,” Portman says (via Vulture) “I’ve been insecure about it recently because of ‘Broad City.’ Best show. If you haven’t watched it, watch it. And on the show there’s a really dorky character who’s a gym instructor, like an Equinox guy or something, and he’s the worst. And he’s like, ‘Oh my God, I love Garden State! I donated all my money to Zach Braff’s Kickstarter.’ And I’m like ‘Oh my God.’ So now, because the people I think are the coolest think it’s really lame I’m kind of insecure about it.”
We hope Portman isn’t wounded too long — for all its flaws, she was great in Braff’s movie, though now acknowledges the problems with the manic pixie dream girl archetype she was playing. “[O]f course I see that trope and I think it’s a good thing to recognize the way those female characters are used. I mean, I appreciate that people are writing characters that are interesting and unusual, rather than some bland female character as the girlfriend in a movie, but when the point of the character in this movie is to, like, help the guy have his arc, that’s sort of the problem, and that’s why it’s good that they’re talking about it, because it certainly is a troubling trope.”
Anyway, if this doesn’t lead to a Portman cameo in “Broad City,” we’ll be very upset. The show returns to air early next year, and “A Tale Of Love And Darkness” will likely hit theaters some time in 2016.