Natalie Portman is pulling out all the badass stops in the new trailer that debuted on Wednesday for her western, Jane Got A Gun. Portman plays the gun-slinging Jane Hammond, who has to cover her husband Bill's sorry butt after he comes home, pursued by the Bishop Boys. As per usual, when you want something done right, you need a woman to do it, and Portman doesn't skip a beat in taking on the gang to save her poor husband Bill. But on Portman's behalf, I just want to remind you, that even though she's kicking ass and taking names in Jane Got A Gun, this ain't her first rodeo (I allow myself to use that phrase once a week). She's been in the badass roles for more than 20 years, which is pretty impressive, considering the actress is only 34 years old.
Portman got a very early start, but even from the very beginning, chose roles of strong, complicated and self-sufficient girls and women. She's played just about every character type you can imagine, and the ones you can't: for example, she went from a haunted, damaged ballerina in Black Swan to her next film, the cheesy, kinda terrible but fun rom-com No Strings Attached. That kind of career versatility is admirable in itself, but here are some of Portman's most badass onscreen roles:
Mathilda in Leon: The Professional (1994)
It's mind-blowing that Portman was only thirteen years old in her debut, playing the child assassin opposite Jean Reno and Gary Oldman in this twisted French crime thriller. She was a cool teen, of course.
Evey in V For Vendetta (2006)
Portman fully committed to the role of Evey in this adaptation of the dystopian graphic novel; she had her head shaved on-screen in the emotional scene where her character is being tortured by V, the anarchist rebel that is fighting fascism. Portman is phenomenal and raw in this film, and the film itself and the iconic Guy Fawkes mask that V wears have become a symbol and hallmark for Fighting The Man.
Queen Amidala In Star Wars (1999 - 2005)
I know Star Wars fans might hate me for this, because the films in which Portman starred were not... totally well-received. But hey, it's not Padme's fault: and she plays a strong, young Queen who is clever and quick both in battle and in politics. Who says a woman can't successfully run an Empire?
Jane Foster In Thor (2011, 2013)
Helllllllo, female scientist?! Important, because even though I love the Avengers franchise, they dole out few powerful roles to women.
Anne Boleyn In The Other Boleyn Girl (2008)
Though this historical drama is pretttty inaccurate, Portman still does a smashing job playing Anne, King Henry's fraught second wife caught up in the double bind of duty and love, and her eventual, tragic end. She fits in beatufiully in the period piece, playing the resolute Anne with fierceness and dignity, as she faces betrayal by her people and her husband and King. Oh my god, it is sad.
Alice In Closer (2004)
Though Portman's character is heartbroken and heartbreaking in this beautiful film, her strength comes from her ability to be alone and help herself. She is gorgeous and complex and so totally sad in this movie, but Alice will teach you how to be strong in your own way.
And don't worry, Portman already has more projects lined up, so it looks like she's in this for the long haul to play badass women on the screen for the next 20 years.
Images: Warner Bros.; Giphy (6)