Jerusalem born Natlaie Portman feels that she was made into a “Lolita” and had her personal sexuality harmed as a result of her first movie “Leon: The Professional.” The Oscar winning actress made shocking revelations when a guest on actor Dax Sheppard’s podcast called “Armchair Expert With Dax Shepard.”
“I was definitely aware of the fact that like, I was being portrayed,” explained Natalie Portman, “like mainly in the kind of journalism around when the movies would come out — as this Lolita figure and stuff.”
Portman said that she dealt with his by putting on a more serious persona in public.
“So many people had this impression of me that I was super-serious and prude and conservative as I got older. I consciously cultivated that because it was a way to make me feel safe. If someone respects you, they’re not going to objectify you.”
Natalie Portman was only 12 when she filmed her first movie called “The Professional” and also known as Leon. In it she played a girl named Mathilda whose family is murdered by drug dealers and who then finds shelter in the apartment of a neighbor named Leon, played by Jean Reno, who happens to be a hitman himself.
The cut of the film released in theaters portrayed the two leads’ relationship as childlike; just two kids playing at home alone all day.
But there was a different cur of the movie which was not well received. In fact, there was even one scene which was so provocative that the movie’s producers were forced to cut it after getting negative feedback. In the sequence Natalie Portman dances around in a revealing dress and talks about marrying Jean Reno’s character Leon. But Leon is played by Reno as a somewhat simple minded adult child who relates to Mathilda on a child’s level. So he does not pursue her in that way.
— NataliePortman.com (@natpdotcom) December 7, 2020
Natalie Portman feels that the movie led to her being sexualized as a child and that this hurt her own sexuality as she grew up.
“Being sexualized as a child took away from my own sexuality because it made me afraid,” said Portman. “It made me feel like the way I can be safe is to be like, “I’m conservative, and I’m serious, and you should respect me, and I’m smart and don’t look at me that way.”
Portman was not just perceived by Hollywood producers as a “Lolita” type, she was even offered the title part in the remake of the movie Lolita in 1997, but wisely declined. She was only 15 at the time and the studio wisely chose to cat a woman over 18 as the story centers on a middle aged man who has an affair with his teenage step-daughter.
The director of Leon, Luc Besson, is himself no stranger to controversies surrounding under aged girls and sexual improprieties. He has even been accused of rape by actresses. Besson also married Maïwenn Le Besco who is 17 years his junior, after dating her while she was still a child. They met when she was only 12, began dating when she was just 15, and when she was just 16 years old the actress gave birth to his child and married Besson.
Natalie Portman wisely chose to follow up Leon with movies where she played a typical teenager like in Woody Allen’s “Everyone Says I Love You” in 1996. The irony here is biting considering the recent resurfacing of accusations against Allen of sexual abuse by his former girlfriend Mia Farrow’s children.
The actress later became a star when she got the role of Queen Amidala in the Star Wars prequels and later won an Oscar for her role in the 2010 film “Black Swan.” Natalie Portman is now set to reprise her role as Jane Foster in the next Thor movie “Thor: Love and Thunder” due out in 2022.