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NATALIE PORTMAN NEWS - 2004

Portman Apologizes for Black Quote
8 December 2004
Natalie Portman has written a letter to American style magazine Allure to explain herself for comments she made in an interview in which she empathized with being a black American. The Star Wars star insists the attributed quote, "I'm not black, but I know what it feels like," was "personally offensive" when she read the article in August's Allure. Portman writes, "If I had spoken more articulately, I might have conveyed what I truly feel: I could never know what it is like to be a black American. "The 'it' I was referring to when I said, 'I know what it feels like, ' was not intended to signify that I know 'how black people feel' but rather that I know what Dubois' (Souls of Black Folk author Web Dubois) concept of double- consciousness feels like." Portman also alleges her quote was taken out of context: "Had my quote included what I actually said preceding that statement, perhaps my meaning would have been clearer." She adds, "I sincerely, and with my deepest regrets for offending any readers, apologize and apologize and apologize. This has hurt me deeply, and I will do my best to be more thoughtful and articulate in the future."


Movie Reviews: 'Closer'
3 December 2004
Mike Nichols' Closer is opening on fewer than 500 screens today, but it is touching off widespread critical debate. A.O. Scott in the New York Times hails Nichols as one of the few filmmakers "who are capable of infusing the bodily expressions of erotic desire with dramatic force and psychological meaning." Leslie Morris in the Boston Globe remarks that "it's a show of the director's goodness that a movie fundamentally preoccupied with interpersonal ugliness is allowed to end on a convincing note of beauty." Bob Longino in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution describes the movie as "compelling, unsettling and finely acted." Peter Howell, in the Toronto Star calls it "a Nichols signature movie, one of his best in a long career and of a piece with Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and Carnal Knowledge." On the other hand, Kenneth Turan in the Los Angeles Times concludes that what the film "lacks is a compelling reason to see it. Despite involved acting from Julia Roberts, Jude Law, Natalie Portman and Clive Owen and Nichols' impeccable professionalism as a director, the end result is, to quote one of the characters, 'a bunch of sad strangers photographed beautifully.'" Jack Mathews in the New York Daily News remarks that while the actors are all "terrific," the movie "still manages to be unpleasant." John Anderson in Newsday remarks that the movie winds up being a case of "bad Pinter meets bad Updike, dancing to the rat-a-tat rhythms of an E.R. episode." Similarly, Joe Morgenstern writes in the Wall Street Journal: "The movie is insistently playlike, if rarely playful, thanks to the director's fondness for artificial, rat-a-tat-tat rhythms of speech that sound like parodies of drawing-room comedy." Bob Strauss in the Los Angeles Daily News comments that the film "offers only intermittent satisfaction." And Philip Wuntch's comments in the Dallas Morning News would seem to apply to his fellow critics when he remarks: "Closer reaches out and grabs all but the most reluctant viewer. Some spectators will be bored, but more will be shaken and stirred."


Review Board Finds 'Neverland' the Best
2 December 2004 (StudioBriefing)
The annual movie awards season dawned Wednesday as the National Board of Review, which traditionally hands out the year's first honors, named Finding Neverland, the biography of Peter Pan creator J.M. Barrie, the best film of the year. Jamie Foxx, who starred in another biopic -- about singer Ray Charles -- was voted best actor for Ray, and Annette Bening, best actress for her performance in Istvan Szabo's Being Julia. Michael Mann was named best director for Collateral. The stars of Closer -- Jude Law, Julia Roberts, Clive Owen, and Natalie Portman -- received an award for "ensemble acting." The film opens Friday.


Portman Ready for Nude Internet Coverage
30 November 2004
Actress Natalie Portman is comfortable with the inevitable prospect of seeing her naked body splashed across the internet, after her new movie Closer hits cinemas. The sexy screen star plays a stripper in the raunchy film - in which she appears alongside Julia Roberts - and she's prepared for the fact stills grabbed from her nude scenes will soon dominate celebrity websites. She says, "Yeah, it'll be nude celebrities dotcom. But that's fine. I'm not scared. I'm brave. I feel like I've got to a point in my life where everything I do is active rather than reactive." However, Portman laughs off theories she agreed to the steamy role in an intentional effort to abolish her former child star reputation. She adds, "I'm not doing things to prove anything. That makes me comfortable with whatever people walk away with. I can still carry on my own life without being hurt."


Pregnant Roberts Misses 'Closer' Press
24 November 2004
Pregnant Julia Roberts pulled out of press for her new movie Closer just 24 hours before Monday's interviews. The actress, who is set to give birth to twins in January, missed out on weekend press for another new movie Ocean's Twelve, but she was expected to join Closer co-stars Jude Law, Clive Owen and Natalie Portman for publicity in Los Angeles. But Roberts, who was admitted to hospital with contractions earlier this month, was a no show for press calls. Law understands, "She's resting. It was touch and go. We knew that she had to rest and this sort of situation has to be on the day. What's important is that she listens to herself and the doctors and the baby." Roberts also pulled out of Monday night's Hollywood premiere. George Clooney joked about her absence from the Ocean's Twelve press junkets: "I think it's all a bluff. She wants to get some attention."


Modest Pitt Turns Down 'Actors Studio'
19 November 2004
Hollywood heart-throb Brad Pitt turned down the chance to star in critical chat show Inside The Actors Studio because he doesn't think he's experienced enough. Modest Pitt was invited by James Lipton to review his film career and discuss his acting methods on the Bravo program, when his blockbuster Troy came out this summer. According to American gossip site Pagesix.Com, Pitt said that he didn't have a "sufficient body of work". Pitt needn't have worried about his 27 movie portfolio, recent Studio guests include Natalie Portman - who has 14 to her name and Jennifer Lopez with 16 movies.


Nichols Removes Portman's Nude Scenes
8 November 2004
Actress Natalie Portman ordered director Mike Nichols to remove her full frontal nude scenes from her latest movie Closer - despite playing a stripper in the film. Nichols is very protective of the 23-year-old beauty and agreed the topless footage was acceptable, but decided raunchy shots of her fully nude were gratuitous and should be deleted from the drama. Portman explains, "He wants to see my bare ass much less than (even) my father would. He's as or more protective of me than my parents are. So doing sexual, physical stuff for him felt very uncomfortable."


Reshoots on 'Star Wars' Film
4 August 2004
The latest installment in George Lucas' blockbusting Star Wars series is undergoing reshoots in London, despite principal photography finishing last year. Natalie Portman, who again plays Queen Amidala in the forthcoming movie, Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge Of The Sith, is flying into the British capital to help with finishing touches to the forthcoming film. But Portman is refusing to reveal why Lucas feels reshoots are necessary so long after the movie's shoot ended. She says, "I haven't been told anything so for all I know, it could be like walking, an insert shot of my hands, or a whole new storyline, so I will be as surprised as you are."


Portman Ignores Flowers To Make Political Statement
30 July 2004
Actress Natalie Portman's political T-shirt statement on live American TV Thursday morning, left bosses so worried, her interviewer asked her cover it with a bunch of flowers. The Star Wars beauty made an appearance on TV show Good Morning America to promote her new movie Garden State, but her bold T-shirt bearing presidential hopeful John Kerry's name and picture prompted veteran journalist Diane Sawyer's fear her network ABC would fall foul of pre-election guidelines. Partway through the interview, a smiling Sawyer said, "Now if I'm gonna talk to you, you're gonna have to hold flowers here in front of the John Kerry (T-shirt). We can't just have John Kerry the whole time. Who do we bring in for equal time?" A stunned but laughing Portman shot back, "Come on, you've got (Bill O'Reilly's) The O'Reilly Factor. That's on television; that evens it out!" She also took the opportunity to voice her support for the Democratic contender, adding, "I love John Kerry! I just think he has the perfect combination of compassion and intelligence and composure under pressure and I'm just a huge fan."


Clive Owen Starstruck by Co-Star Julia Roberts
15 July 2004
Clive Owen refuses to believe rumors Hollywood star Julia Roberts is a diva - because she "couldn't have been nicer" when they worked together on new movie Closer. The pair join Jude Law and Natalie Portman in the star studded Mike Nichols drama - currently in post-production - and Owen admits the actress was an entirely different person to one portrayed in the press. He says, "I wasn't quite sure what to expect. I mean, she's probably the most famous actress in the world and you hear all this stuff and read all these things, but she couldn't have been nicer to work with. She was so easy and there was no diva attitude at all, no big entourage of assistants and publicists. I really had a great time with her."


Natalie Portman and the Stalker Mix-Up
17 June 2004
Star Wars beauty Natalie Portman's mother called police to her New York home recently - fearing a man innocently reading a book on the sidewalk outside was a deranged stalker. The stunning 23-year-old - who shot to fame as a child in hitman drama Leon - is fearful of becoming the target of obsessed fans so when her mother Shelly spotted student Antwone LeGarde outside her property, she immediately called in the local law enforcement. LeGarde - who until that day had never even heard of Portman - was stunned when officers approached him as he sat on the curb looking out over the beach near the actress's house. And LeGarde tells New York gossip site Page Six, that he wasn't the first person to trigger Portman's protective loved ones into ringing the police. He says, "The police officers were laughing about it. They said, 'This is the third or fourth time she's done this.' Every time someone comes near her house, she thinks they're stalking her. It's a little strange." However, Portman's lawyer Marty Singer denies his client has troubled the authorities more than once. He says, "Natalie has never called the police. She didn't know anything about it. There was a young person sitting near their property for a very long period of time. Her mother called 911. She never used the word, 'stalker.'"


Portman Ditches Bernal
18 May 2004
Star Wars beauty Natalie Portman is a single woman again - after ditching hunky boyfriend Gael Garcia Bernal. The stunning 22-year-old actress has been dating the Bad Education star since meeting him at a post-Oscar party in 2003 but friends say cracks started appearing in the romance a few weeks ago. According to British newspaper The Sun, the final straw was when Portman discovered her beau had opted to take his parents to the Cannes Film Festival this week instead of her. Portman's previous boyfriends include Moby and Lukas Haas.


Law in Portman Romance Riddle?
11 March 2004
British hunk Jude Law is reportedly getting close to his Closer co-star Natalie Portman - sparking fears his romance with Alfie beauty Sienna Miller is over. The Cold Mountain Oscar nominee first met Portman on the set of the Anthony Minghella-directed civil war drama, while he was going through his split from wife Sadie Frost. But it wasn't until the pair teamed up to play lovers in the new drama - which also stars Julia Roberts - that they struck up a close friendship. A source close to Law tells Britain's Closer magazine, "Jude regularly mixes with big Hollywood names and while Natalie is at ease in those circles, Sienna, a former model, is seen as a comparative lightweight. Her only big film role so far has been beside Jude in Alfie." The actor has reportedly told pals, "Natalie's like a breath of fresh air and very like me in many ways." Natalie - who dates Mexican hunk Gael Garcia Bernal - told reporters recently, "Jude Law is gorgeous. I can tell if someone's really genuine or if they're nice to you just because you're an actor."


Portman and Bernal Enjoy Smoochy Meal
26 February 2004
Star Wars beauty Natalie Portman and Mexican hunk Gael Garcia Bernal enjoyed a romantic Valentine's Day meal together - and didn't care who spotted them getting intimate. Portman, 22, and the 25-year-old Y Tu Mama Tambien star made no secret of their mutual affection as they sat holding hands and frequently shared passionate kisses during their date at east London's trendy Real Greek restaurant. Prompt Portman waited patiently at the bar for Bernal to arrive for a double date, which they spent with another equally loved-up couple. An onlooker says, "Natalie and Gael were very intimate - touching each other and kissing in full view of everyone. They're definitely an item. Natalie arrived first and was at the bar by herself for a while waiting for the others to turn up - they had a double date with another couple. They all ended up having a few bottles or red wine and stayed late." Portman and Bernal met at an Academy Awards after party in March last year and they have since been spotted together, but have refused to comment on any possible relationship.


Distribs Paying Big Bucks at Sundance
20 January 2004
Buyers for the film industry's biggest indie distributors, many of whom took a wait-and-see approach to the offerings at the Sundance Film Festival last year, then went into a frenzy of buying in the closing days, are waiting no longer, according to reports from the festival. Today's (Monday) Hollywood Reporter observed that the festival was "front loaded" with many of the high-profile features screening in the first days. Some of those making the pickups were high-profile in their own right, with Miramax, a unit of Disney, and Fox Searchlight, a unit of 20th Century Fox, coupling to acquire Garden State, which marks the directorial debut of Zach Braff of NBC's Scrubs, who also wrote the movie and stars in it alongside Natalie Portman. The festival is also buzzing over the reported $4-million acquisition of Walter Salles' The Motorcycle Diaries by Focus Features and a $3-million-plus pickup of Jared Hess's Napoleon Dynamite by Fox Searchlight.


Portman Reveals 'Awesome' 'Star Wars' Scene
7 January 2004
Natalie Portman is hoping fans will be satisfied with the final Star Wars film - because it contains some "awesome" action. Portman, who plays Queen Padme Amidala in the sci-fi prequel trilogy, admits she's not sure whether the last installment will be "worth it". Creator George Lucas has come under fire from disappointed fans who argue the new offerings do not match up to his classic original trilogy - but Portman insists the cast and crew have done their very best. She says, "I saw a pretty amazing fight scene between Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen. It's pretty sick. "They were thinking of having stuntmen do it, but they were better than the stuntmen. It's pretty awesome. "Is it gonna be worth it? We just shot it and we worked really hard. I think all of us were trying to make it as good as possible. "It was our last chance to sort of, you know, do something with it. So, I'm hoping. But they work on it for two years after we finish shooting, putting on the special effects and all that stuff."


Spoilers From Padme?
7 January 2004
Natalie Portman, who stars as Padmé Amidala in the Star Wars prequels, has disclosed that the upcoming Episode III will include "a pretty amazing fight scene" between Ewan McGregor, who plays Obi Wan Kenobi in the prequels, and Hayden Christensen, who portrays Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader in them. In an interview with MTV.com, Portman also disclosed that the two actors perform the scene without the aid of stuntmen and that "it's pretty sick." She did not elaborate. The film is set to open on May 25, 2005, the 28th anniversary of the original's premiere.



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