Watch: Natalie Portman confesses the dark secrets that led to ‘No Strings Attached’

Oh, Miss Portman… there is nothing more charming than someone in the midst of one of the best years of their lives who can still laugh about themselves and their work.

When I sat down with Portman a few months ago to talk about “Black Swan,” it was a far more sober conversation about her work in that film, which was appropriate to that piece of work.  But when you sit down to talk about a film like “No Strings Attached,” you aren’t obligated to take things as seriously, especially when someone’s been on the awards circuit since September.

She’s looking positively radiant these days as she carries a little extra baby weight, and I have to believe that the acclaim she’s enjoyed professionally and the personal highs she’s been experiencing all combine to make her happier than she’s ever been.  What’s interesting is that the Natalie Portman we’ve seen in things like the Lonely Island rap video she did has never really shown up in one of her films before, but it’s there in this film.  It seems to me like she’s aware of the comic value of someone as petite and adorable as her busting loose with some raunch, and she’s embraced it.

I had one question I absolutely had to ask her regarding “That ’70s Show,” and it led to a shocking confession on her part.  I didn’t mean to blow the lid off her obsession with the show or her plans for the other cast members like Danny Masterson, Topher Grace, or Debra Jo Rupp, but you’ll see… I caught her off-guard and she had no choice but to reveal the truth finally.

All kidding aside, it’s a pleasure to see someone make that transition from promising young performer to an adult in full control of their instrument, and Portman has made that transition finally.  The person I sat across from in this interview and our earlier one this year is not the same girl I interviewed years ago, and she’s not even the same person she was as recently as “Closer” or “V For Vendetta.”  She seems more comfortable in her skin, more relaxed with her public image, and happy in a way that can only come from personal satisfaction.  I have a feeling we’re on the threshold of a new phase in her career, and I’m excited to see where she goes from here.

Fair warning, though, Kurtwood Smith.  Portman’s got her eye on you.

“No Strings Attached” opens everywhere this Friday.