Natalie Portman on What the Trumps and the Kennedys Share
Over the weekend, Natalie Portman’s new film Jackie arrived in theaters, offering an intimate glimpse at Jackie Kennedy’s life after the assassination of her husband, John F. Kennedy. Her performance has already earned the actress rave reviews and, inevitably, a seat at the table when the nominations start rolling in during awards season. In a new interview, the Oscar-winner discussed what made this project special and how the legacy of the Kennedys, at least in some ways, mirrors another famous family about to take up residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
“You’re looking at the White House and where they live and you’re imagining the Trump family living there,” Portman told Bustle. “The Kennedys were also this very wealthy, attractive family and now, to see this aspirational aspect of a lot of people who voted for [Donald] Trump, what they like about the Trump family, this sort of glamour and excitement of wealth — the aspirational aspect, there’s some echo.”
Portman also discussed Jackie’s quiet strength in moments of extreme adversity and having the foresight to help mold the perception of her husband’s administration in the public eye, a crux of the film.
“She defined herself very much as a wife and through her marriage and through her husband, very traditionally, and conventionally for the time,” the actress explained. “But she couldn’t help but be incredibly independent and strong. I don’t think she was trying to be feminist or powerful or anything, but she inevitably was.”
The 35-year-old touched on how important collaboration had been when deciding how Jackie would be depicted; noting that the end result captures a real person, warts and all, not a single dimension.
“It’s very rare… for a male screenwriter and a male filmmaker to make a film about a woman and allow her to be so many things,” she said, not defining her character to “an icon” or “an object.” “Avoiding those two traps really allowed a complete portrait of a human being.”
Jackie is in select theaters now.