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Natalie Portman: Broadway, Silver Screen...Research Lab?
June 19, 2007 5:10 PM   Subscribe

Turns out that Golden Globe-winning actress Natalie Portman (formerly known as Natalie Hershlag) is quite an accomplished scholar. In addition to being a Harvard psychology student, she worked in Dr. Abigail Baird's research lab and was the co-author of a peer-reviewed journal article investigating the neuroscience underlying the development of object permanence in infants. Quite impressive, in an age where Lindsay Lohans and Paris Hiltons dominate the headlines.
posted by charmston (101 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
*swoon* What grace! What class!

i'd hit that
posted by liquorice at 5:13 PM on June 19, 2007


smart chicks are sexy. especially the uber-hot ones.
posted by gnutron at 5:13 PM on June 19, 2007 [2 favorites]


Her greatest accomplishments will always be Leon and her rap career.

Oh, and her peer-reviewed journal article investigating the neuroscience underlying the development of object permanence in infants.
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:14 PM on June 19, 2007


it ain't rocket science
posted by sswiller at 5:16 PM on June 19, 2007


Sticherbeast beat me to the reference, but if you are going to talk about Portman rapping, you must link to it.
posted by quin at 5:21 PM on June 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


and she has her own action figure. I hate overachievers.
posted by jonmc at 5:22 PM on June 19, 2007


Natalie is in the video for Paul McCartney's new single "Dance Tonight".

BTW, Paul turned 65 yesterday.
posted by pruner at 5:22 PM on June 19, 2007


The cool thing about this is that--just like Carl Sagan--she has an Erdős-Bacon number of at most 9.
(Both are beaten handily by Winnie, whose Erdős-Bacon number is 4.)
posted by Partial Law at 5:23 PM on June 19, 2007 [2 favorites]


Fluent in Hebrew too.
posted by Astro Zombie at 5:24 PM on June 19, 2007


(Oops I mean 6)
posted by Partial Law at 5:26 PM on June 19, 2007


Ah, she'll probably develop a substance abuse problem and become a catastrophe. But it'll be spectacular catastrophe and she'll write a meoir and it'll become a movie and win an Oscar.
posted by jonmc at 5:27 PM on June 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


Wait. Attractive, smart AND female? I'll be she'd be a great babymaker and mother too! You seem to have had an epiphany about headlines.
posted by spock at 5:30 PM on June 19, 2007


Who cares?

When I was at Harvard, I smoked weed every day. I cheated every test. And snorted all the yay.
posted by phaedon at 5:31 PM on June 19, 2007 [3 favorites]


Hey! That's the guy from The Office!
posted by liquorice at 5:31 PM on June 19, 2007


Pfffft. Second-to-last author.
posted by rxrfrx at 5:32 PM on June 19, 2007


See also: N. Portman, "Petrification After Total or Partial Disrobement: A Survey of Recent Literature," J Materials Science and Grits 25 (Spring 1998), 342-378.
posted by nasreddin at 5:33 PM on June 19, 2007 [15 favorites]


"Erdős himself seems to have an undefined Erdős–Bacon number. While Erdős' Erdős number is clearly 0, his Bacon number is likely undefined; it was previously believed to be finite due to a conflation of similarly named persons. Similarly, Bacon's Erdős number is likely undefined. "

Doesn't that point alone clearly dispell any legitimacy this absurd concept has? If you can't define the number of the two people utilized for measurement of this phenomenon... that's just stupid, isn't it? I dunno for sure cuz I've never co-authored a mathematical paper, but it sounds kinda stupid.

The Professional. V for Vendetta. Fantastic work, objectively speaking. Great actress. I can forgive her involvement in the Star Wars franchise. She's awesome despite Amidala. She was essentially Lucas' own personal action figure to pose as he pleased in weirdo outfits. That paid her way through college, I'm sure.
posted by ZachsMind at 5:34 PM on June 19, 2007


Danica McKellar is another one.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 5:40 PM on June 19, 2007


Hershlag is a sexier name than Portman.
posted by infinitewindow at 5:40 PM on June 19, 2007


Doesn't everyone on Metafilter already know this?

Unless it's just me who's always on the lookout for hot people with brains.
posted by Alex404 at 5:40 PM on June 19, 2007


ZachsMind, the number reflects the overlap point in a Venn diagram composed of two rarely-overlapping circles. That's the whole point. The centers don't have to overlap for the shared points to be interesting.

And of course it's absurd. It's called the Erdős-Bacon number. It's an interesting bit of trivia, not the Nobel Prize.
posted by Partial Law at 5:41 PM on June 19, 2007


The younger daughter chick from Rosanne went to Yale or something.
posted by bardic at 5:46 PM on June 19, 2007


I think the moment I fell in love with her was when I read this quote by her:

"You walk into a nice strip club, the ones where the women are treated well - obviously 'well' is debatable - and the women just seem so powerful. Women have full control; they can get whatever they want from these guys. But they realise it is a tacit contract: they are that way because men want them to be like that. Obviously, if the men wanted them on the floor scrubbing their shoes they'd probably be doing that too."

Why aren't more girls using her as a role model over Lohan and Hilton? Seriously, someone tell me!
posted by liquorice at 5:47 PM on June 19, 2007


she was cute. but she digs the chicks, man.
posted by jonmc at 5:47 PM on June 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


Why aren't more girls using her as a role model over Lohan and Hilton?

drinking whiskey straight out the 8 bottle/do I look like a motherfuckin' role model...

(sorry, couldn't resist)

Putting aside the whole concept of 'role models,' I think the answer to your question is obvious: most people (myself included) can't be beautiful, smart, talented and accomplished. BUt pretty much anybody can be a drunken catatrophe. Go for waht you know.
posted by jonmc at 5:50 PM on June 19, 2007


Mira Sorvino is also brilliant, but will forever be mistaken for the airheads she's played. Sad, really.
posted by motherfather at 5:51 PM on June 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


I don't think she's that talented. Smart, attractive...yes. But not a very good actor.
posted by dhammond at 5:52 PM on June 19, 2007


liquorice:
Why aren't more girls using her as a role model over Lohan and Hilton? Seriously, someone tell me!


With enough money and liquor, anyone can grow up to be a Hilton or a Lohann. You have to work to be a Portman.
posted by Joey Michaels at 5:52 PM on June 19, 2007


Celebrity manages to do something that thousands of other people do every day! Film at F'ing 11! In other news, Nicholas Cage ties shoes, Jessica Alba boils water.

Celebrities are AMAZING!
posted by ChasFile at 5:55 PM on June 19, 2007 [2 favorites]




Why aren't more girls using her as a role model over Lohan and Hilton?

In the real, non-strawman world, no one idolizes Paris Hilton. And Lohan is a much more talented actor who happens to have substance abuse problem.

And she doesn't say moronic things about movies based on great works of literature:


On Lolita (1997): "I don't think there needs to be a movie out where a child has sex with an adult."


posted by drjimmy11 at 6:00 PM on June 19, 2007


In other news, Nicholas Cage ties shoes,

I'm fairly sure he pays someone to do that for him.
posted by jonmc at 6:04 PM on June 19, 2007


The cool thing about this is that--just like Carl Sagan--she has an Erdős-Bacon number of at most 9.

Meh. I have an Erdős-Bacon number of 6.

On the other hand, Natalie has a def posse, while I only have a bunch of dudes. Natalie FTW.
posted by grouse at 6:06 PM on June 19, 2007


Awwww, the little Erdos in a hat on the Wikipedia Erdos Number page is so vewwy cute.
posted by smackfu at 6:07 PM on June 19, 2007


She never said she was a role model.
posted by homunculus at 6:07 PM on June 19, 2007


In the real, non-strawman world, no one idolizes Paris Hilton.

No. People really do. Really. Ask me 10 year old cousin who has posters of Hilton plastered on her walls (pun intended).
posted by liquorice at 6:07 PM on June 19, 2007


grouse, you're in England. You don't have dudes. You have blokes. chaps, perhaps. but no dudes.
posted by jonmc at 6:07 PM on June 19, 2007


My dudes are in the States.

You know, up until today I always thought she said "bunch of Jews" in that song. I think that is way funnier, and I have bunches of Jews in both countries.
posted by grouse at 6:09 PM on June 19, 2007


Sharon Stone is supposedly very brainy, too.
posted by brittney at 6:14 PM on June 19, 2007


Pfffft. Second-to-last author.

seconded. Speaking as a research scientist, second to last author means she contributed the least. As a general rule, first author is the grad student/post doc who did all the work, last author is the head of the lab, and everyone in between gave declining contributions from left to right. Still a very smart girl, but co-author is a stretch. Probably was the summer student who did alot of the grunt work. When I was in college most of the work I contributed was cleaning glassware, purifying proteins and running gels.

And I'm saying this with a large crush on the girl. I dig the smart ones, but I don't see why we're gloryfying the girl's summer research project. Have we set the bar that low?
posted by slapshot57 at 6:16 PM on June 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


She's stated that she'd like to join the Israeli army. Hardly brilliant.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 6:22 PM on June 19, 2007


Have we set the bar that low?

If your only bar is research-paper bonafides, then perhaps yes. I've heard she's been involved in a few other endeavors as well.
posted by spiderwire at 6:23 PM on June 19, 2007


By comparing Portman to Lohan and Hilton, you give the latter two more power than you seemingly want to.

By doing that, you make yourself unattractive to women like Portman.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:28 PM on June 19, 2007


I don't think she's that talented. Smart, attractive...yes. But not a very good actor.

I've seen the future, baby, and it's murder.
posted by KokuRyu at 6:30 PM on June 19, 2007


Until this moment I didn't know Natalie Portman's real last name was Hershlag.

It is a spectacularly ugly name.

But I have to agree with the above mefitter that it is definitely sexier than Portman.

I know this girl here in Montreal whose last name is Sexhauer.
It is always fun to say out loud.

There's also this local girl whose name is Morag. When I was younger, I thought that the g was silent. That you pronounced it Mora. I could not believe that Morag was pronounced the way it was spelt. But it is. And she manages to pull it off. But probably because she's very cute and everyone always has a soft spot for the cute girl with the ugly name. I think it might be different if she were an ugly girl with an ugly name. Then that name would be perceived more like a label.

It is funny how this conversation occurs in a context where we tell women that being pretty is the most important thing they can be. And being smart comes second. But how atonishing when it occurs. Like, beauty and brains?

It's like if Betty & Veronica were one and the same person!
posted by Sully at 6:31 PM on June 19, 2007


Fluent in Hebrew too.

That would at least be consistent with her rabid pro Zionist rants.
posted by tkchrist at 6:38 PM on June 19, 2007


Uhh... she totally IS a role model to tons and tons of quieter, smarter, less flamboyantly tan girls out there, you just don't notice because they don't ape her "look" (partly because she doesn't really have one in the same way that the Hiltons and Simpsons of the world do. She doesn't really do the whole Kabuki). It's a lot easier to pick out influences of people you see on the street if they're wearing tremendous compund-eyes sunglasses and you can see their ribcage through their sundress and the dog hanging out of their purse.

Seriously, she is a big deal on the role model scene for certain girls. Surf some MySpace and LJ and you'll see what I mean.
posted by hermitosis at 6:47 PM on June 19, 2007


But tkchrist is right, it's a wash because there is no such thing as a respectable, intellectual, outspoken Zionist amirite?
posted by hermitosis at 6:49 PM on June 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


This thread inadvertently disrespects young woman by implying that Portman's intelligence* is somehow unusual for female actors.

*debatable
posted by dhammond at 6:49 PM on June 19, 2007


I held the door open for Ms. Portman and who I believe was her mother at a hardware store in Cambridge once.

The fact that I remember this at all is both silly and irrelevant to this thread. Of course, there seems to be discussion of her last name here too, so, why not? (For just the tiniest stab at relevance: first-hand reports from friends state that she was a quiet and seemingly quite intelligent student.)
posted by sappidus at 7:10 PM on June 19, 2007


Why aren't more girls using her as a role model over Lohan and Hilton? Seriously, someone tell me!

The work of acting is, in and of itself, a very boring task (who wants to be in a movie? 10 hours of doing the same scene over and over everyday? Yuck!). The only cool thing about it to someone who doesn't love the craft is that it can make you rich and famous, which means your life becomes glamorous and you can get a lot of cool stuff. Hilton and Lohan revel in the fun part of a life in the public eye- of course teenage girls are going to be interested in that.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:11 PM on June 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


Help me out here. I've done a bit of poking around on the Interweb, and while Portman is from Israel, I don't see a lot of evidence that she has gone on anything that could fairly be labeled as a Zionist rant.

In fact, the only references I've found to her politics in this regard have been in comment sections of blogs, where she is frequently called "Zionist bitch" and worse.

So, lest I mistakenly think that this is a case of a few folks jumping to the conclusion that because she is Israeli, she must be nasty in some way, would somebody mind pointing me in the direction of some quotes from her the support this characterization?

FWIW, pointing to her willingness or desire to join the Israeli army is not necessarily support for this, since all Israeli citizens have to serve in the army at some point. I suspect if she does not, she will get the "celebrity looking for special treatment" thing...
posted by Joey Michaels at 7:19 PM on June 19, 2007


"Lady Natalie Sludge" has a nice ring to it, doncha think?
posted by LordSludge at 7:25 PM on June 19, 2007


sappidus: I held the door open for Ms. Portman and who I believe was her mother at a hardware store in Cambridge once.

Oh yeah? My friend's boyfriend used to watch her go do laundry from his perch at the Harvard Bookstore!

(Why on earth do I remember that? Sheesh!)
posted by bitter-girl.com at 7:32 PM on June 19, 2007


I too wish to insert my penis into her body.
(Just thought y'all would like to know this relevant information. I'm sure Portman does. She's a big Smedleyman fan)
posted by Smedleyman at 7:33 PM on June 19, 2007 [1 favorite]


Help me out here. I've done a bit of poking around on the Interweb, and while Portman is from Israel, I don't see a lot of evidence that she has gone on anything that could fairly be labeled as a Zionist rant.

Yeah, she's not exactly Bobby Fischer, y'all.

I'd heard some of her more pro-Israeli statements before and thought that they sounded intense, but lacked context. And while "Zionist" might mean "pro-Israel" in a technical sense, I think that the subtext is inappropriate. By that criteria, my friends who've been to Israel to assist peacekeeping missions would be "Zionists," or my Lebanese friend "Islamist." The connotation is inappropriate.

If anything, what I see reveals that Ms. Portman has a fairly balanced view on the topic, especially considering her background. Her response to a scathingly racist rant in the Harvard Crimson is particularly impressive, I think, and deserves a complete reading. But the most relevant part is:
Israelis and Arabs are historically cousins. Until we accept the fact that we are constituents of the same family, we will blunder in believing that a loss for one “side”—or, as Chaudhry names it, a “color”—is not a loss for all human kind.

Outrageous and untrue finger-pointing is a childish tactic that disregards the responsibility of all parties involved, including Europe, the Arab nations and the United States, along with Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
Hardly seems unhinged to me.

In fact, I think that her expressed wish to serve in the IDF (as mentioned, mandatory for Israeli citizens) is admirable; I feel like disparaging her for that would be akin to damning my friends who've chosen to join the U.S. military. I've got strong views on that topic, certainly, and I personally wouldn't choose the same, but I nevertheless tip my hat to my friend who just came back from Afghanistan where he worked in a bomb squad. Insulting him for that would simply be low, and that's putting it charitably.


As to Portman's scientist quals, I was also impressed to learn that, "Her 1998 high school paper on the "Enzymatic Production of Hydrogen" was entered in the Intel Science Talent Search." I've never considered myself a slouch, but that beats the hell out of anything I did in high school.

I'm generally impressed by intelligent people, and I'm more impressed by people who manage to keep that spark despite being in careers that aren't really conducive to it (and in the case of Hollywood, seem to punish it). Here, it's clear that lots of people are just waiting for her to slip up -- she seems to be doing extraordinarily well under enormous scrutiny. I don't think it would be much of a stretch to call Natalie Portman a serious phenom -- and at the very least, "Zionist" is a cheap shot.
posted by spiderwire at 8:03 PM on June 19, 2007 [5 favorites]


I heard she smells like doo doo
posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 8:06 PM on June 19, 2007


Summon 'Mefi Boyzone' MTG card.

Following in the footsteps of Piaget does not a genius make, it is a better start than going to jail, but it is still a sheer degree away from the masturbatory mudslide of celebrity accomplishments. (And I fuckin love Piaget.)

She's a pretty face with a nice head and hopefully a mind that will do more than just pretend to be other people on screen.
I wish her no ill will, but these are things that regular folk engage in every day, thanklessly. I hope she does something valuable with it. Otherwise, this is just another I'd hit it thread.

Lets wait for her post-grad work. That will indicate the direction of this pretty face much more plainly.
posted by isopraxis at 8:07 PM on June 19, 2007


In years past I have, on a number of occasions, gyrated to live indie rock mere feet from Ms. Portman on the downstairs floor of the Middle East.

While I never sought out any interaction, I must conclude her ability to utterly and completely ignore my existence is attributable to the intimidation my raw, sexual power must have triggered in those days.

Yes, I simply must.
posted by jalexei at 8:14 PM on June 19, 2007


She's stated that she'd like to join the Israeli army. Hardly brilliant

i'd join an army with girls like
this
and
this

posted by andywolf at 8:16 PM on June 19, 2007


Wow. She's fluent in English, Hebrew, French, German, and Japanese, and is learning Arabic? What. The. Fuck.

I wish her no ill will, but these are things that regular folk engage in every day, thanklessly.

...

OK. Her celebrity might create a self-fulfilling prophecy in terms of her ability to do good works (although there's a debate to be had about her dedication to her causes compared to other celebrities).

But if beautiful, 26-year old, Broadway actress, straight-A Harvard psych grads who speak 5 languages and were nationally recognized for biology papers they wrote in high school are considered "regular folk" up there in Canada, you need to tell me now so I can go buy a bus ticket.
posted by spiderwire at 8:32 PM on June 19, 2007


although I agree with dhammond that so far she hasn't displayed great talent thus far as an actress, if she continues with acting as her primary profession I'd be willing to bet on her ending up being one of the great actresses, because she is clearly choosing roles that develop her and push her, and I think she keeps getting better in each movie.
posted by lastobelus at 9:00 PM on June 19, 2007


I don't think it would be much of a stretch to call Natalie Portman a serious phenom -- and at the very least, "Zionist" is a cheap shot.

Reminds me of this article from the Onion. Don't worry - I'm sure she'll pass from fame to D-list obscurity soon enough, whereupon she can focus on her academic pursuits and continue to add value where it truly matters, instead of leading around poor wooden Hayden by his tiny lightsaber.

The funny part, I find, is that folks are somehow astonished that there are intelligent people in cinema.
posted by FormlessOne at 9:13 PM on June 19, 2007


Thanks spiderwire.
posted by peacay at 9:17 PM on June 19, 2007


Nobody has mentioned Hedy Lamarr and her co-invention of spread spectrum wireless communication, so I will.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:34 PM on June 19, 2007 [4 favorites]


Gregg Graffin from Bad Religion has a PhD in Evolutionary Paleontology from Cornell University.
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:38 PM on June 19, 2007


It's not terribly surprising that intelligent people can apply themselves to various fields with success.

It's not particularly strange that somebody smart enough to speak five languages fluently can also make it to a good university, and be involved in the production of a peer-reviewed paper.

It's not exactly unlikely that somebody smart enough to get into Harvard & be involved in the production of a peer reviewed paper can also apply themselves to the study of acting if they so choose.

It's not terribly surprising that, in spite of her brains & her ability to apply herself, her Broadway & Hollywood career would probably never have gotten off the ground, and we would never even heard of her, had she not also had the good luck to have been born with the right genes.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:39 PM on June 19, 2007


Greg, even.
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:39 PM on June 19, 2007


Hedy Lamarr could've kicked Natalie Portman's ass.
posted by miss lynnster at 10:15 PM on June 19, 2007


you just don't notice because they don't ape her "look" (partly because she doesn't really have one in the same way that the Hiltons and Simpsons of the world do. She doesn't really do the whole Kabuki).

...and partly because most women simply don't have what it takes to mimic her "look" which is actually pretty easily defined and straight-forward to implement: be extraordinarily beautiful. That's all! If you can do that, then you, too, can shrug off society's foolish notions of "beauty" and just concentrate on "being yourself" so you can truly develop into the "best you" possible.

Hey, did you hear the news? 1500 other, uglier Harvard students also did great things on their summer break.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:17 PM on June 19, 2007


My friend tutored her while she (friend) was a Harvard Law student.

She was one of many tutors.
posted by k8t at 10:25 PM on June 19, 2007


*waves hands around angrily*

Madam lynnster, I'm bothered by the fact that I didn't know that your Hedy Lamar was a real person. Particularly when confronted with the idea that Hedley Lamarr was an homage.

I mean, if I'm missing jokes like that, I'm clearly not paying close enough attention.
posted by quin at 10:50 PM on June 19, 2007


And see, with lapses in brainpower like that quin, it's looking less and less likely that the cinematic Wunderkind are going to be inviting you to their soireés anytime soon. Best hit the books, my son.
posted by spiderwire at 11:22 PM on June 19, 2007


She is very cute and obviously very smart, but she cannot act. Her line readings are painful. And you can blame Lucas' writing, but Carrie Fisher figured it out. And she was pretty cute too in that metal bikini.

You know who else is cute and smart?

chess chicks
posted by vronsky at 11:38 PM on June 19, 2007


Lisa Kudrow (Phoebe in Friends) once did neurological research with her father.

I heard an NPR interview where they asked her about it, and she started going into the technical detail of the research, then stopped herself, got back into character, then said something like "Oh wow, listen to me."

..maybe not as impressive as Blossom with a PhD in neuroscience.

There's lots of brainy actresses. They don't tell you this stuff on Entertainment Tonight.
posted by eye of newt at 11:52 PM on June 19, 2007


Hedy Lamarr could've kicked Natalie Portman's ass.

HEY! Don't mind me. I'll just sit here in the dark eating wet cigarettes like a dog.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:13 AM on June 20, 2007


And Huey Lewis scored 800 on his math SAT's. And James Woods did the same on the verbal section (and went to MIT).
posted by vronsky at 12:18 AM on June 20, 2007


She never said she was a role model.

(From the IMDB page)

"I also feel I'm a positive role model by not putting my education on hold."

QE to the muthafukin D!

(And thus passed the most pointless corrective call-out of all time)
posted by Sparx at 3:00 AM on June 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


How odd that we are so surpirsed that so and so or this or that one canbe atractive and an actor but has other talents besides...are we shocked that a number of physicians are very good writers? or do we expect a pretty face in a girl to reepresent only some sort of twit?

There are a number of actresses who have degrees from good universities.

As for the Lolia remark: actually any number of critics and publishers, "experts" in the field, said similar things about the novel.

ps: it is possible to have been born in Israel, moved to another country, and not carry "zionist" baggage around. NP may not be political but then 50 of Americans do not vote.
posted by Postroad at 3:07 AM on June 20, 2007


Until this moment I didn't know Natalie Portman's real last name was Hershlag.

It is a spectacularly ugly name.


I choose to willfully misinterpret it as being "her shag". Suddenly all is well.
posted by vbfg at 3:51 AM on June 20, 2007


vronsky: steer clear of those chess chicks. they're bad news.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:16 AM on June 20, 2007


dolph lundgren was awarded a fulbright to MIT :P he coulda been a chemical engineer instead of master of the universe!
posted by kliuless at 4:35 AM on June 20, 2007


I read somewhere that Ms. Portman credits her success to Brazilian low-fat yogurt.
posted by horsewithnoname at 4:38 AM on June 20, 2007


Partial Law : "In the acting world, Danica McKellar, most famous for her role as Winnie Cooper in The Wonder Years, has an Erdős–Bacon number of 6." Her Erdős is 4.
posted by absalom at 6:17 AM on June 20, 2007


On preview: You already know this.
posted by absalom at 6:18 AM on June 20, 2007


That's hot.
posted by robot at 8:07 AM on June 20, 2007


Y'all who are implying some kind of sexism here are reading too much into this. There's just a stereotype that actors and actresses are not so bright. It's very well-known, and obviously very untrue if you actually look at these people. Just like there's a stereotype of lawyers being vicious and greedy, or artists being crazy and lacking self-control. That's all this is, people being a bit surprised that this superficial stereotype is being disproved; no hidden anti-female agenda.
posted by Sangermaine at 8:38 AM on June 20, 2007 [1 favorite]


I've been a Natalie fan for a long time now.
I just wish she did more for the Palestinian cause, although she has been a crusader for Micro Finance around the world, along with Queen Rania of Jordan.
posted by hadjiboy at 10:15 AM on June 20, 2007


(Gah, I can't believe I read the whole thread... and links... and that I'm commenting!)

Regarding the Zionist charge, consider this quote from her imdb profile:

Once during an interview, she offered a metaphor for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from the David Hare play "Via Dolorosa." It's about a man who jumps out of a burning building and lands on a passerby, breaking the passerby's leg. The passerby says, "You broke my leg," and the man breaks his other leg to shut him up.

Hardly a pro-Zionist rant, that.
posted by funkbrain at 12:12 PM on June 20, 2007


I honestly wouldn't have guessed this. If Ms. Portman's performance in most films is used to judge her intelligence, she seems to have a low normal IQ. What else can you say about an actress who somehow managed to make a private striptease act boring (in "Closer") and partially ruined "Star Wars" 1-3 (though in all fairness, the clearly incompetent Hayden Christiansen deserves most of the credit for that)?
posted by bshock at 1:25 PM on June 20, 2007


somehow managed to make a private striptease act boring (in "Closer")

That's funny, because it's one of my favorite scenes in the movie. She is practically nude and yet Clive Owen is desperately discovering that she can't be unmasked. She seems to sort of seethe with ambivalent sexuality and regard him with equal parts idle curiosity and utter disdain. Hynotizing.
posted by hermitosis at 1:35 PM on June 20, 2007


"If there's no 'p' in 'Hypnotizing,' then you're probably not doing it right..."
posted by hermitosis at 1:36 PM on June 20, 2007


What else can you say about an actress who somehow managed to make a private striptease act boring (in "Closer") and partially ruined "Star Wars" 1-3 (though in all fairness, the clearly incompetent Hayden Christiansen deserves most of the credit for that)?

I don't think Portman's quite the fantastic actor people had predicted she'd become - being a successful child actor raises unreasonable expectations - but she's still rather talented. I thought she was good in Closer, but most of the rest of the time she simply picks boring projects. Boring projects lead to boring roles. She was fine in what I saw of Where The Heart Is, but wild horses couldn't drag me to see the rest of that movie.

Hayden Christensen's the same way. He was really good in Shattered Glass. It's a pity that George Lucas destroys all the good acting he can find, Yoda notwithstanding. It's also a pity that he blows at casting - Christensen's a strong actor, but nothing about him suggests the mythic quality you'd expect from a young Anakin Skywalker.

Unrelatedly: I find it inordinately amusing that Closer was penned by the writer of The Day Today who played Chapman Baxter. Hunh.
posted by Sticherbeast at 2:32 PM on June 20, 2007


Yoda notwithstanding

None can withstand the power of the Oz -- not even you, George Lucas.

I also speculate that Lucas' powers have no effect on small puppets.
posted by spiderwire at 3:00 PM on June 20, 2007


It's also a pity that he blows at casting

For the oh-so-many things that were wrong with Episodes 1, 2, and 3, casting wouldn't be my first choice. I mean using Ewan McGregor as a young version of Alec Guinness' Obi-Wan Kenobi was inspired.

I honestly could not come up with anyone that I think would have been better.

/OT
posted by quin at 3:31 PM on June 20, 2007


But tkchrist is right, it's a wash because there is no such thing as a respectable, intellectual, outspoken Zionist amirite?

Niiiiice characterization of what I didn't say. What's a wash?

I never commented on her "respectability."

Personally. Yeah I think she is hot and smart.

But I do recall her going off once in support of the invasion of Lebanon in a rather pro-Zionist fashion uncharacteristically of her liberal peers. Zionist? Maybe she isn't. Maybe she is. You sure as shit won't find that out in IMDB. Just the buzz I heard from industry people. Take it for what you will.
posted by tkchrist at 3:36 PM on June 20, 2007


Just the buzz I heard from industry people. Take it for what you will.

I don't think I will take that for very much.
posted by grouse at 3:56 PM on June 20, 2007


Rashida Jones of The Office is also a Harvard alum. And she hates the Israel.

No, sorry. I made up that last part. But she is a Harvard Hottie, that part is true.
posted by cazoo at 11:12 PM on June 20, 2007


--That would at least be consistent with her rabid pro Zionist rants.--

--But I do recall her going off once in support of the invasion of Lebanon in a rather pro-Zionist fashion uncharacteristically of her liberal peers.--


tkchrist, would you please provide some links in addition to further characterising what the statement, "the buzz I heard from industry people" actually means.

Because right at this moment, after reading spiderwire's comment back up the page, I'm thinking that these are really cheap shots (I could describe them as much worse, but I think that we'll go the reasonable path for the moment). So either withdraw your remarks or outline them in more detail and provide some support.
posted by peacay at 12:37 AM on June 21, 2007


tkchrist doesn't need to provide support for his claims. He knows industry people! And he heard the buzz from them! Plus his old man was career special forces officer, and much of his immediate family is law enforcement or the military.
posted by grouse at 1:52 AM on June 21, 2007


It's too bad she wasn't smart enough to avoid being in V for Vendetta.
posted by Saellys at 9:59 AM on June 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


I am having a hard time seeing how any person's stated desire to join an armed force is "admirable". One can no doubt concede the regrettable necessity of armed forces without applauding them on your own side. There's a good scene in Manufacturing Consent where a woman asks Noam Chomsky what she can do to feel proud of her government again. His reply is something like "Governments are repressive institutions by definition. They exist only by virtue of their force, and that's not something any rational person should be proud of." The same goes for armed forces, especially Israel's vastly more sophisticated, better funded and equipped, and entirely unmatched forces.

Portman's stated desire to "serve" with the IDF (a conscript army) is nothing but the empty shout of brainless nationalism. She's ready to applaud tolerance and peaceful co-existence in the editorial pages of the Crimson, but not prepared to renounce the mindlessness of nationalism and theocracy which is at the root of the problem.

She says: "Faisal Chaudhry writes of the American and Israeli desire to “reconstruct the ideological framework” of the Middle East situation, while creatively framing the same article with a conversion into a “white” vs. “brown” struggle. At one point, Chaudhry even compares the situation to apartheid. This is a distortion of the fact that most Israelis and Palestinians are indistinguishable physically."

Right, their distinguished by whether or not they are the chosen people of the one true G*d, right? I would love to hear her explain how she defines the terms "apartheid", "racism", "colonialism" and "occupation" because she doesn't seem to understand these words the same way the rest of the living world understands them.

...oh I'm sorry, I meant to write "HaWT StAr WArZ ChICKZ wITH GuNZ rULE EsPECIaLY HArVaRD OnEZ!!!!"
posted by inoculatedcities at 2:42 PM on June 21, 2007 [1 favorite]


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