Natalie Portman Had One Major Concern About Playing Padme In Star Wars

Natalie Portman Had One Major Concern About Playing Padme In Star Wars

 

It can be tough for an actor to take on a huge franchise role and ever escape the character they played — even for someone as recognizable as Natalie Portman. Apparently, the Oscar winner was really concerned that playing a major part in the "Star Wars" prequels would stick with her and negatively impact her career.

In a feature in Empire that looks back on the prequels, Portman revealed that she was apprehensive about playing Padmé Amidala, the young queen of a planet named Naboo. Not only is the character a prominent ruler, but she's also the secret wife of Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen in the second and third film), and mother of Luke (Mark Hamill) and Leia (Carrie Fisher).

"I was worried about doing it, that I wouldn't be able to do anything else after, because the series carries such a mythology in American life. But that was precisely why it was such an incredible opportunity," Portman told Empire. "It bridged my career from a child to an adult." Other than mixed reviews for her performance — which many viewers felt was quite wooden and not exactly aided by George Lucas' stilted dialogue — playing Padmé definitely didn't damage Portman's career at all. These days, she's one of Hollywood's most recognizable players and has appeared in everything from "Annihilation" to "No Strings Attached" to "Black Swan" (the last of which won her an Oscar).

 

After Star Wars, Natalie Portman joined another major franchise — which yielded mixed results

Natalie Portman Had One Major Concern About Playing Padme In Star Wars

 

Clearly, playing Padmé Amidala didn't scare Natalie Portman away from franchise work altogether, but her next brush with one was much more complicated. In 2011, she joined Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Hopkins, and Kat Dennings in the Marvel Cinematic Universe origin story "Thor," playing Jane Foster, the love interest to Hemsworth's titular Norse god. After appearing in the much-derided sequel "Thor: The Dark World" in 2013, she stepped away from the franchise entirely, to the point where a scene involving a brief glimpse of Jane in 2019's "Avengers: Endgame" had to be cobbled together with B-roll from the first two films. It didn't seem like Portman would ever return to the MCU, and it seemed likely that Jane would simply be cut from future "Thor" projects … until Taika Waititi came along.

Ultimately, Portman decided to return to the MCU thanks to Waititi's vision for "Thor: Love and Thunder," which hands the hammer over to Jane as she becomes a superhero in her own right as Mighty Thor. She probably won't be coming back now, though, because Jane reveals to Thor that she has terminal cancer, and her body can't even try to fight it when she transforms into her own form of Thor. She dies at the end of the film and reaches Valhalla (a location Marvel may revisit in "Thor 5"). All in all, Foster's story and Portman's time in the MCU seems to be completely wrapped up. Still, after her apprehension over "Star Wars," it's fascinating to see how she joined another franchise later, left when it provided diminishing returns, and only came back on her own terms.

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