Natalie Portman knows The Force can be strong with bad movies. She debuted to raves in The Professional — which came out in 1994 when she was just 13. After that strong start, she picked up an Oscar for Black Swan, plus two more nominations (so far). But she’s also had some stinkers, though the actress noted that there’s a freedom that comes with surviving flops, saying:
That’s a good attitude. Movie failures mean big bucks down the tube, so it’s not like it’s nothing, but at least you can analyze and learn from mistakes. Without any duds, maybe Natalie Portman would be too frozen to take chances, out of fear that this time might be the one that doesn’t work out. Portman also preceded her statement by stating that “people can come up with their own ideas” about what her “duds” are.
Natalie Portman made her comments before the 2018 IndieWire Honors ceremony, which celebrated filmmakers and actors for achievements in creative independence. She has definitely showcased that creative independence over the past 20-plus years in the industry. Instead of going for a singular “brand,” she’s stretched her range from indies to blockbusters, like Woody Allen’s musical Everyone Says I Love You and her edgy role in Closer, to the three Star Wars prequels and first two Thor movies. She even made time for two iconic Saturday Night Live raps. Jennifer Lawrence wishes!
But since she brought it up, yeah, viewers could probably point to a few of her “bad” movies. Considering Portman’s own Thor: The Dark World co-star Chris Hemsworth called that movie “meh,” it might be fair to add it to the naughty list, although no Marvel Cinematic Universe movie really qualifies as a failure.
Right before joining the MCU, Portman made the stoner comedy Your Highness, which failed with critics and at the box office, picking up only $28 million from a $50 million budget. (Like many comedies, it found a cult audience.) Annihilation recently flopped at the box office, too, and faced a whitewashing controversy, although critics enjoyed it.
Natalie Portman has also evolved her career from just acting to producing, writing, and directing — including all three for the Israeli drama A Tale of Love and Darkness in 2015. She’s back to acting as the leading face of the new musical Vox Lux, co-starring Jude Law, Raffey Cassidy, Stacy Martin, and Jennifer Ehle.
Vox Lux — which could fall onto Portman’s naughty or nice list, up to viewers — will sing its way into theaters on December 7.