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NATALIE PORTMAN NEWS - 2001

Star Wars Love Gets Real
12th December 2001
Star Wars love has moved off screen - stars Natalie Portman and Hayden Christensen are reportedly dating each other in real life. The pair play lovers Senator Padme Amidala and Anakin Skywalker in the new Star Wars instalment, Attack Of The Clones - and got together on the set of the blockbuster. A source on set tells British tabloid The Sun, "It was obvious from the early read-throughs in Los Angeles that they were attracted to each other. Then one evening on set in London, Natalie took Hayden by the hand and they darted off to her dressing room. At about 10pm he came out looking like the cat who got the cream!" Portman, who attends top American University Harvard, broke up with her on-campus boyfriend when romance blossomed with her co- star.

Star Wars Woes For Ryan Phillippe
5th December 2001
Ryan Phillippe auditioned for the lead role in the new Star Wars flick - but lost out because he was too old. Phillippe was eager to win the part of Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars: Episode 2 - Attack Of The Clones. But the highly sought after role - which involves a steamy smooch with Queen Amidala, played by the beautiful Natalie Portman - went to younger actor Hayden Christiansen, leaving Phillippe disappointed. He says, "There is a part of me that really wanted the role. And I got pretty far down to the final cut. I got to test with Natalie Portman, who is Princess Amidala. In real life, I'm seven years older than her, which was dubbed too old. At age 29, I was an over the hill Anakin." But while he may have missed out on the part, Phillippe was at least privy to some Star Wars secrets. He adds, "The experience of auditioning for George Lucas was cool because he showed me all around Skywalker Ranch. He told me how intent he was make Jar Jar as big a part of this one despite the criticism of the character in Episode One."

Portman To Return To Her Debut Film
30th November 2001
Sexy actress Natalie Portman is set to reprise her first ever movie performance - in a sequel to cult assassin film Léon. French director Luc Besson is planning a sequel to his critically acclaimed 1994 flick - but won't proceed unless Portman agrees to return as Mathilda. The Star Wars leading lady was only 13 when she made her big screen debut - and Besson wants to update the story with Mathilda becoming an assassin just like her father figure Leon, who is killed in the first movie.

Hayden Christensen's Lightsaber Fun
22nd October 2001
New Stars Wars star Hayden Christensen failed to impress creator George Lucas when he was handed his lightsaber - and started making whooshing sounds with it. Christensen, who was plucked from obscurity to play the part of Anakin Skywalker in Episode II: Attack Of The Clones, says when he was first held the lightsaber he forgot all about being cool and instantly reverted to his childhood Star Wars games. He recalls, "It was so dorky because I picked up the lightsaber and started making the same sounds I made when I was a kid with a stick. You do the whooshing sound of the saber turning on and the slash-through-the-air sound. When he stopped laughing, George Lucas looked at me and said...'Hayden, we can't have your lips moving right now and, believe me, we have enough money to use slightly better sound effects for this part of the movie. So stop mouthing it!" Christensen, 20, who plays Natalie Portman's love interest in the movie is keen to dispel reports the two had been taking their romance off screen. He says, "I'm not going out with Natalie. In the movie there are some nice moments between us - but that's in the movie."

Lucas: Star Wars III Will Be The Last
7th September 2001
Director George Lucas has decided Episode III will be the last Star Wars film in the series. The legendary movie maker has just finished making Episode II: Attack Of The Clones, starring Natalie Portman and Ewan McGregor, which hits screens next year. He says, "I can guarantee I will definitely give up after Episode Three in 2005." The Californian-born director originally hoped to make nine films, but at 57 years old it will take him a long time to get through them all. Lucas plans to make a fourth Indiana Jones movie once Episode III is finished.

Gabriel Byrne In Star Wars Talks
14th August 2001
Gabriel Byrne is in talks with George Lucas to appear in the third Star Wars movie. Byrne is set to take a starring role in the third and final Star Wars epic - which is planned for release in 2005. Star Wars: Episode II - Attack Of The Clones is due for release next year and is currently in post production. Although Episode 3 is four years away, the script is already being written for the final episode - with Natalie Portman already set to reprise her role as Padme Amidala, alongside Hayden Christensen, who will take on the role of Anakin Skywalker in next year's sequel. Byrne says of his talks with Lucas, "We're discussing it." But the 51-year-old Irishman confirmed that any decision was months away. He adds, "I think they're still writing the script."

Stars Get Russian In Central Park
13th August 2001
Director Mike Nichols hastapped a number of top Hollywood stars to help him stage a performance of Anton Chekhov's The Seagull in New York's Central Park as part of the summer Shakespeare In The Park dramatic program. With a new translation of the Russian classic from Tom Stoppard, Nichols lined up Meryl Streep (who also conceived the project), Natalie Portman, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Kevin Kline, John Goodman, Marcia Gay Harden, and Christopher Walken in a production that's getting solid reviews for the acting and for the unusually witty script. U.S.A. Today reviewer Elysa Gardner, in giving it three out of four stars, said Nichols brought together a cast that was not only well-respected, but "perfect for the roles they play," and called it "the most consistently entertaining presentation of Chekhov, I've seen." (This story was prepared by IMDb staff.)



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