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Natalie Portman: Method Acting Deemed a ‘Luxury Unaffordable for Women’

Natalie Portman
Natalie Portman (Credits: The Variety)

The Academy Award–winning actress Natalie Portman has said that she has never used method acting in her career, calling it “a luxury that women can’t afford.” In a Wall Street Journal interview that was released on Monday, Portman talked about the difficulty of giving oneself up completely to a character.

She brought up the possibility of problems in personal relationships if she were to take this approach. She used her performance as Jackie Kennedy in the 2016 film “Jackie” as an example, highlighting that she might not get along with her family and friends if she expects them to refer to her as the role all the time.

Natalie Portman

Natalie Portman (Credits: The Guardian)

Portman discussed her thoughts on method acting despite her dedication to roles, speculating that masculine performers could find the rigorous approach more doable. She discussed her part as Elizabeth Berry, a fictitious character, in Todd Haynes’ most recent picture, “May December,” in the WSJ interview. In order to prepare for playing a difficult historical figure in a film, the character is assigned to shadow her.

For “Black Swan,” Portman, who trained extensively in ballet, made it clear that she has never been a fan of method acting. Actors are encouraged to use their physical, mental, and emotional identities to create a character by drawing on their own life experiences.

This approach was established by Lee Strasberg and originated with Russian theatrical director Konstantin Stanislavski. Though performers like Jeremy Strong, Daniel Day-Lewis, and Robert De Niro are well-known for using this immersive technique, Portman’s comments represent differing viewpoints in the business.

Method acting has been commended by other actresses, such as Lady Gaga, for its contribution to improving their performances. In 2021, Lady Gaga acknowledged using the method to assist her in portraying socialite Patrizia Reggiani in “House of Gucci,” which led her to a Golden Globe nomination for the singer.

Not every performer, though, feels the same way. Star of “Succession,” Brian Cox, voiced worries about co-star Jeremy Strong’s method acting style, pointing out the possible negative effects on an actor’s health. In a similar vein, Meryl Streep acknowledged using the method to feel “so depressed” when playing Miranda Priestly in “The Devil Wears Prada.”

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