Natalie Portman on why Reese Witherspoon is a “force” for all in Hollywood

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Susan Devaney
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Actress Natalie Portman has opened up about “learning” from Reese Witherspoon and how she planned that “all-male nominees” moment at the Golden Globes.  

Natalie Portman made every woman across the globe cheer as she announced the nominees for best director during the Golden Globes by saying: “And here are the all-male nominees”. 

Ron Howard standing beside her laughed; women everywhere clapped with great appreciation.

Now, it seems Natalie Portman is only getting started. Not only was the moment planned, but Portman says it was about “changing the room”.

“That’s what connects the pay, the representation, the harassment, the assault — it’s a continuum of behaviour that’s silencing and very violent and devaluing,” Portman tells Buzzfeed.

Currently promoting her latest film, Annihilation, the Oscar-winning actress admits that she only recently learned that her character had been whitewashed. In the second book in Jeff VanderMeer’s trilogy, Portman’s character, a biologist called Lena working in a secret environmental disaster area, is identified as being of Asian descent.

“I feel very strongly about the issue, and there just needs to be more representation, and I would hate to be part of that problem. We based it on the first book, which does not mention race at all,” Portman explains.

This lack of representation is something which Portman and fellow actress Reese Witherspoon are actively trying to tackle. Not only through the Time’s Up initiative, but by creating great material for women from all backgrounds. 

“She [Reese Witherspoon] is a force, making work for everyone, including myself. She is generating so much material, and putting her money where her mouth is,” Portman explains. 

Witherspoon has been instrumental behind the success of Big Little Lies due to launching her own production company. Resulting in getting films made that feature interesting and complex female characters like in Wild and Gone Girl, which is why Portman is trying to follow her lead.

“I’m learning from Reese! I’m inspired by her. Right now, I’m just trying to get parts that she’s created. I’m trying to direct more. But it’s a lot! I haven’t figured it out as well as she has,” Portman continues.

Portman homed in on one glaring problem that they’re focused on: “There’s so much art that’s being lost by not giving opportunities to women and people of colour.”

They’re both a force to be reckoned with, that’s for sure. 

Images: Rex Features / Instagram