“It gave me my career”: Natalie Portman Devastated After $46M Movie Director Was Charged With Sexual Abuse Who Shaped Her Hollywood Career

Natalie Portman remains one of the most sought-after actresses in Hollywood, with iconic roles such as Padmé Amidala in Star Wars and Jane Foster in Marvel Studios’ Thor under her belt. The Academy Award winner started her career at an early age, and as she continues to grace the big screen with her latest project, May December, she proves that versatility is her middle name.

Natalie PortmanNatalie Portman

Portman starred in Luc Besson’s Léon: The Professional in 1995, which became the most significant body of work for the actress as the film catapulted her to stardom. She was only 11 when she landed on the role, playing an orphan mentored by a hitman in a movie with sexual undertones.

Natalie Portman Has Conflicting Feelings About Luc Besson’s Sexual Allegations

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Natalie Portman reflected on the controversy surrounding Luc Besson’s sexual charges and called it “devastating,” saying it surprised her although she seemed to have confused emotions about it. She later on explained:
I really didn’t know. I was a kid working. I was a kid. But I don’t want to say anything that would invalidate anyone’s experience.”
The 41-year-old actress looked back on her role in Besson’s Léon: The Professional and attributed her fame to the film:
It’s a movie that’s still beloved, and people come up to me about it more than almost anything I’ve ever made, and it gave me my career, but it is definitely, when you watch it now, it definitely has some cringey, to say the least, aspects to it. So, yes, it’s complicated for me.”

In 2018, Besson was accused of repeatedly raping Dutch-Belgian actress Sand Van Roy for over two years. After rigorous investigation, the case was dismissed in 2021.

Natalie Portman Leon- The ProfessionalNatalie Portman in Léon: The Professional

In an interview with Armchair Expert via People, Portman discussed her early movies and how the actress knew the industry was trying to turn her into a ‘Lolita figure’:
I was definitely aware of the fact that I was being portrayed… as this ‘Lolita’ figure. Being sexualized as a child, I think took away from my own sexuality because it made me afraid, and it made me like the way I could be safe was to be like, ‘I’m conservative,’ and ‘I’m serious and you should respect me,’ and ‘I’m smart,’ and ‘don’t look at me that way.’
The actress also opened up about her experiences as a child star. During the 2018 Women’s March, she shared about excitedly opening her first fan mail at the age of 13 only “to read a r-pe fantasy” from a male fan.

Natalie Portman Has Advice For Aspiring Child Actors

Natalie PortmanNatalie Portman
Natalie Portman’s latest project, May December, will premiere at the Cannes Festival on May 20 and will showcase once again her prowess in acting for dark films. As a celebrity with movies ranging from romance to superhero genres, she reveals wanting to do comedy and voice-over for animated films.

Her advice for budding performers who want to jumpstart their career at an early age, as she did, is to “treat it as a game more than a job because I don’t think kids should really have jobs.”

May December will be Natalie Portman’s first movie project under a new company, MountainA, alongside French producer Sophie Mas.

SourcesThe Hollywood ReporterArmchair Expert via People

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