Natalie Portman Is Playing Jackie O., Naturally

by Rachel Semigran

Natalie Portman is an amazing actress and person — she's wise beyond her years, thoughtful in public appearances, and often chooses roles that are timeless. Recently, she signed on to play Ruth Bader Ginsburg in a new biopic titled On the Basis of Sex , which chronicles the Supreme Court Justice's fight for equal rights in her career. Now the Academy Award-winning actress is taking on another major female figure in American History, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. The biopic, Jackie, which will be directed by Pablo Larrain and produced by Darren Aronofsky, tells the story of the four days of Jackie Kennedy's life following the assassination of her husband and former President of the United States, John F. Kennedy. During those fragile days, Jackie Kennedy was catapulted into even greater fame by the nation, all the while dealing with the immense loss of her husband and father of her children.

If there is any actor in Hollywood who can portray grace under fire, it's Natalie Portman. She's got a knack for playing women who struggle to save face under dire circumstances (Black Swan, V for Vendetta). After JFK died, the nation looked to Jackie Kennedy for strength and comfort, and she was the leader of the country in many ways in his wake. Portman is just the woman to handle that sort of task; she's got a big heart and a stiff upper lip all at once.


In an interview with Elle UK back in November, 2013, Portman spoke about feminism in Hollywood, and her thoughts strike quite closely to what we will likely see in Jackie. "The fallacy in Hollywood is that if you’re making a 'feminist' story, the woman kicks ass and wins. That’s not feminist, that’s macho. A movie about a weak, vulnerable woman can be feminist if it shows a real person that we can empathize with." Considering how much emotional anguish this film will explore, I have no doubt Portman will help make a feminist movie that is real to the human and deeply empathetic.

Portman's recent casting news shows a turn in the much sought-after actress' career — playing influential women in modern American history. It all makes a lot of sense considering how, at 33, Portman is already one of the biggest game-changers for women in Hollywood. She is currently at Cannes showing her directorial debut, A Tale of Love and Darkness, in a time when female directors aren't being hired. The Harvard grad is also an international activist who champions causes for animal rights, women's rights, and anti-poverty. She not only changes the way women are represented on screen and behind the camera, she uses her celebrity status to change the world for good. It's no wonder she was cast as two of the most iconic American women in recent history.

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