Natalie Portman’s been a star since childhood, and she only improves with age. But she’s got a lot more than her A-list status going for her: she’s brilliant, brave and beautiful to boot.
Just as we were getting excited about the fact that we have a new Natalie Portman movie to look forward to this month, we learned shortly before Christmas that Netflix and Paramount/Skydance were in negotiations to give the streaming service international rights to the film and release it just 17 days after the film premieres in the United States on February 23. Annihilation, a sci-fi action-horror thriller based on the book of the same name by Jeff VanderMeer, centers around a group of soldiers that enters an environmental disaster zone; only one of them comes back alive, so his biologist wife, Lena—played by Portman—volunteers to join an expedition into the zone in an effort to discover what happened to him. Early reviews have characterized the movie’s previews as “mesmerizing”, “haunting” and “compelling”—so in case Portman as the star isn’t enough of a draw for you, well, then, there’s that.
Portman, who can by turns enchant, enthrall, shock, engage, and just about anything else she chooses to once she steps into a role, is an Oscar winner who rarely if ever makes a career misstep. But there’s plenty more to her than what you see onscreen. She’s a fascinating amalgam of brains, bravery, savvy and sass. Just in case you’re not familiar, we’ve dug up some interesting trivia on her—get to know here just a little bit better before you hit the theaters to see Annihilation on the 23rd.
15 Things Nosy Readers Might Like to Know about
1. She was born in Jerusalem as Neta-lee Hershlag.
2. Of her native Israel, she says, “You know, I get much more Jewish in Israel because I like the way that religion is done there.”
3. Portman starred in Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace, but skipped the premiere so she could study for her high school finals.
4. She’s a graduate of Harvard University, where she earned a B.A. in Psychology.
5. She speaks English, Hebrew, French, German, Japanese and Spanish.
6. She was “discovered” by a Revlon beauty scout when she was just 9 years old, eating at a pizza parlor—but chose not to model in favor of acting.
7. Fashion designer Zac Posen calls Portman his “muse.”
8. She’s part of the #metoo movement. “I’ve had discrimination or harassment on almost everything I’ve ever worked on in some way,” she said. “I went from thinking I don’t have a story to thinking, ‘Oh wait, I have 100 stories.’ And I think a lot of people are having these reckonings with themselves, of things that we just took for granted as like, this is part of the process.”
9. On January 1st of this year, she joined social media specifically to have a platform for speaking out as part of the Time’s Up Initiative, a movement launched by 300 women in Hollywood to fight sexual harassment in the workplace. (Check her out at @nportmanofficial.)
10. She’s a big fan of milk. “I love milk so much! I make a point of drinking a glass of milk every day. So anyone who did those milk ads with the milk mustaches, they’re my heroes.”
11. Although she has been married for the past five years, she says, “I’m not convinced about marriage. Divorce is so easy… Committing yourself to one person is sacred.”
12. On motherhood: “I love being a mom, but it’s much more intensive work than being an actress. Going to work feels like you’ve got a day off. Not that I want a day off from being a mum; it’s just perhaps I had this impression before that mums don’t work. But they work more than anyone.”
13. On the male-female dynamic: “Smart women love smart men more than smart men love smart women.”
14. On the disparity of pay between men and women, she told Marie Claire UK, “Ashton Kutcher was paid three times as much as me on [the 2011 romantic comedy] No Strings Attached. “Compared to men, in most professions, women make 80 cents on the dollar. In Hollywood, we are making 30 cents to the dollar.”
15. Her net worth is estimated to be $45 million.