Natalie Portman’s placeholder press?
Natalie Portman wants you to know she’s “back,” and can also hold a tune with Sia and Jimmy Fallon. She’s doing US press for the first time since Thor: The Dark World in Nov. 2013, this time for the beleaguered, woman-centric western Jane Got a Gun that she produced and stars in (which will likely flop). But there are other priorities on the agenda. She’s also looking to break the ice with the media in advance of the release of her upcoming awards bait-y projects Jackie – in which she plays Jackie O – and a Ruth Bader Ginsberg biopic, with the former possibly slated for a run on the fall film festival circuit. It’s a great play, actually, to demonstrate that you’re willing to show face and run the press gauntlet before a 2017 Oscar run. It’s placeholder press, something other Oscar winners like Kate Winslet (the Divergent series) and Cate Blanchett (Cinderella before Carol or Truth) have mastered.
So, how playful is she? Well, I wrote about Natalie’s new attitude back at TIFF in September, when she shared her self-deprecating take on Garden State and unabashed love for Broad City. Last night, that vibe was on display on The Tonight Show. She sang “Iko Iko” with Sia and The Roots in one of the singer’s signature wigs.
Later, she told Jimmy Fallon she’s just a “dorky mom”, is a huge fan of Sia, and used Wikipedia to master the lyrics “like all other people.” And then there’s the Star Wars nostalgia. While she admits to both Good Morning America and the Associated Press that she has yet to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens, she plays up the fact that Jane Got a Gun sees her reuniting with two of her franchise castmates from that galaxy far, far, away: Ewan McGregor and Joel Edgerton. The GMA ticker bills her as an “Oscar Winner Turn[ed] Gunslinger” and yes, George Stephanopolous was sure to mention of her upcoming roles in Jackie and the Bader Ginsberg part too, to put it on the audience’s radar.
Though her writing and directorial debut A Tale of Love and Darkness premiered on Tuesday night at the New York Jewish Film Festival, it was not part of the GMA interview. In my TIFF review, I wrote about how the movie about Israeli statehood was basically made for me, as a Jewish woman, but that it was too faithful to its source material to be accessible to a mass audience. Stephanopolous seemed to take the same note, that accessibility was what Natalie was selling in this specific visit, and possibly excluded that part of her resume for that reason.
Omission or not, Natalie can still serve the fashion too. Of her three different outfits for her Wednesday press day, her showstopping moment came at the Jane Got a Gun premiere. There, Natalie wore a black, sheer embroidered Valentino dress based on Métis artist Christi Belcourt’s “Water Song,” an art piece which, according to Buzzfeed Canada, is permanently on display at the National Gallery of Canada.
So… are you willing to come back in on Natalie?
Jose Perez/ Derek Storm/ Splash News, Raymond Hall/ Mike Coppola/ Dave Kotinsky/ Matthew Eisman/ Getty Images