Blog·q @ TIFF

'I can walk down the street without being noticed': Natalie Portman on the nature of fame

In her new film, Vox Lux, she plays a pop star trying to balance the chaos of her public/private life.

In her new film, Vox Lux, she plays a pop star trying to balance the chaos of her public/private life.

(Elevation Pictures)

Natalie Portman has been famous for most of her life. The 37-year-old actress landed her breakout role when she was just 11 in Léon: The Professional, and starred as Padmé Amidala in Star Wars while she was still in high school.

Her new film, Vox Lux, plays with the idea of a life of fame, and the tolls it can take. Portman plays Celeste, a pop star who became famous as a child following a tragedy and one who has to juggle a scandal-plagued career with her private life — and all the chaos that comes with it.

For Portman, however, the idea of being "pop star famous" is a far cry from the fame of being a film star.

"We are selling the fact that we're characters in different movies that change movie to movie as actors, whereas a pop star, you're really selling your persona, which you have to be all the time," she tells q host Tom Power. "When you go out to dinner you have to be as fabulous as you are when you're onstage as a pop star, as opposed to actors who can disappear into their private lives."

Listen: Full interview with Natalie Portman

But of course for every actor who manages to maintain a private life, there are those who go "the pop star route, and are fabulous all the time," she says. "I think they have the same challenges, just specific challenges for people who put themselves into that public space."

It's a public-private balance that Portman has managed over a 20-plus-year career, and she wouldn't have it any other way.

"I still feel like I can walk down the street without being noticed," she says.

This is an excerpt from our full interview with Natalie Portman, which airs on q in the coming days as part of our Toronto International Film Festival coverage. 


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