These days, it’s easy to imagine Natalie Portman as some kind of rich girl nepotism case or the beneficiary of a certain kind of cool – sort of a proto-Zooey, or the kind actress/intellectual that Scarlett Johansson is trying to be. But I vividly remember seeing Portman in The Professional for the first time and thinking what a force of nature she was. Here she is in her Professional audition, an 11-year-old trying out for what would become her first film role. She has that quality of being composed and adult-like enough while still looking like a child that it’s simultaneously intriguing and sort of off-putting. When I was 11, I had frogs in my pockets and dried snot on my arm.
If you watch the original French cut of The Professional (*fluffs scarf, blows on soy chai*), it delves even further into the the pseudo-romantic relationship between Léon and Mathilda, which was always an intriguing aspect of that film, the child-like man and the precocious little girl and their latent attraction. Then Portman played a similar attraction in an even more overt way two years later in Beautiful Girls, as the human manifestation of the arrested development of Timothy Hutton’s sad pianist. Ha, “sad pianist.” Thus far I see Chloe Moretz following a similar career path, which is good for everyone because she seems like another capable actress. Oh hey, could you guys hold on a minute? I think I hear Chris Hansen at my door. No one touch my stuff.
I’m still waiting for Megan Fox’s audition tape, where she soaps up Michael Bay’s Ferrari and he shoots extreme closeups of her boobs jiggling as she fires his t-shirt cannon.