Star Wars apparently did little to help Natalie Portman’s star power. The Knight of Cups actress, 33, looked back on her time with the Star Wars franchise in a new interview with New York Magazine, and spilled on the adverse effects the movies had on her career.
Portman, who starred as Queen Amidala / Padmé in 1999′s Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, 2002′s Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones, and 2005′s Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith, was brought back to that time in her life as a part of a feature on the late director Mike Nichols. The young actress worked with Nichols, who died this past November, on the play The Seagull in 2001.
“Star Wars had come out around the time of Seagull, and everyone thought I was a horrible actress,” Portman, a professional actress since age 11, explained. “I was in the biggest-grossing movie of the decade, and no director wanted to work with me.”
Though the big-budget film brought in more than $1 billion worldwide, it was met with mixed reviews from critics and die-hard fans alike. Before the release of Episode 1, Portman had previously earned a handful of feature film credits including 1995′s Heat, and 1996′s Beautiful Girls and Everyone Says I Love You.
“Mike wrote a letter to Anthony Minghella and said, ‘Put her in Cold Mountain, I vouch for her,’” Portman said of her big critical break following Star Wars.
“And then Anthony passed me on to Tom Tykwer, who passed me on to the Wachowskis,” she continued of Paris, je t’aime director Tykwer, and the V for Vendetta writers Andy and Lana Wachowski. Thanks to Nichols, who was married to Diane Sawyer for 26 years, Portman famously went on earn critical acclaim and take home the Best Actress Oscar for her role in 2011′s Black Swan.