The first photo of Natalie Portman as Jacqueline Kennedy in the film Jackie was released yesterday, and it shows Portman in a red suit and pearls with First Lady hair. She doesn’t look exactly like Jacqueline Kennedy—these are the days before Onassis—but it’s a solid approximation, and Portman is really well suited to early 1960s fashions. What I really like about this photo, though, is the expression on her face. It’s a little shrewd, a little calculating, and not particularly vulnerable. The film is set in the immediate aftermath of President Kennedy’s assassination, but this photo is not of a grieving widow. It’s of a survivor.
The script for Jackie was on the 2010 Black List, and the project has gone through a few iterations before becoming a Natalie Portman movie. For a while it was going to be an HBO miniseries, and it was going to be a couples’ project for director Darren Aronofsky and his then-partner, Rachel Weisz. Like their relationship, that version of the project fell apart, and now Aronofsky has handed the reins to Pablo Larraín, the Chilean director who was nominated for an Oscar for No.
Jackie isn’t slated to come out till 2017, and since the project just gained a raft of new production partners and investors, this photo seems like proof of production to me, to assure the bean counters that a movie is actually being shot and the money hasn’t been embezzled (which has happened and proof of production is a regular requirement for films). We probably won’t see anything else from this movie for a while, unless they film outside on location somewhere easily accessible. But I suspect that by the time it rolls around in 2017, Jackie—and Natalie—will be positioned as prime Oscar bait.