Natalie Portman is out hustling for her directorial debut, A Tale of Love and Darkness, once again. After spending nearly 16 months hitting Cannes, TIFF, and other festivals to promote the film — which she also stars in — this morning, she popped by Good Morning America for a new one-on-one. Oh, and her husband Benjamin Millepied? He’s proud of her, and supports her in his own way - on Instagram:
Yes, Natalie and Benjamin have walked red carpets together, but how often do you see PDA from these two? He’s doing what he can to promote his wife’s “heartfelt debut,” and from the looks of it, their relationship appears to be as strong as ever. If you scroll through Benjamin’s Instagram feed, the explicit references to Natalie or his family are sparse, making this post all the more deliberate and impactful.
Natalie’s GMA interview was impactful too, but in a different way. The interview makes no reference to how the movie is shot completely in Hebrew, and David Muir introduces it as an adaptation of a bestseller, which is true. In just under four minutes, they talk about how she felt empowered to take on this tale about life during the early years of the State of Israel, in part because of the stories that had been passed down to her from her family. She talks about writing it herself, directing herself, and the usual interview fluff. The biggest surprise though, while it shouldn’t be, is her candour. At no point can you tell that she has been talking about this movie in some capacity to the press for almost a year and a half. Instead, there's a renewed energy from her when it comes to being a part of the press circuit, in spite of the film’s mixed-at-best reviews. As I wrote last September, the movie is a must-see for anybody who wants to know more about Israel’s statehood, but lacks the universality to connect with audiences beyond that bubble.
Natalie also maintains her smile and composure when she’s asked about her son Aleph, and how that influenced her role as a director. Not one to share these personal details, she does not balk at the question and grins when David says “your little guy is five” at the start of his segue. She answers his question head-on, too, and says being a director is “actually quite a parental role.”
Natalie’s sincerity and refreshing attitude is something I’ve written about a great deal for LaineyGossip, having first noticed it at a TIFF event last September, and in her “placeholder press” for Jane Got a Gun back in January. When I first saw that she was on GMA this morning, I was concerned that we’d see a repeat of her insufferable t. magazine language from earlier this summer. Thankfully, that was off the table.
Yes, of course, this revived spirit and enthusiasm comes at the right time for her from a career point of view. Natalie will soon be TIFF-bound once again with Planetarium opposite Lily-Rose Depp and the highly-anticipated Jackie, where she’ll play Jackie Kennedy. I can’t wait to see both of those films in a few weeks, and to see what type of Natalie we’ll encounter on the red carpet and in interviews. I suspect she’ll be coming to play, and will be ready to show off her entire bag of tricks, and not simply her pretentious vocabulary.
As Jackie’s release approaches, it also would not surprise me to see Natalie back on the Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon showing off her rap game, or being silly and funny, just like she did and was when she hosted Saturday Night Live.