Natalie Portman is Jacqueline Kennedy.
Her work as the former first lady in Jackie has award season pundits (correctly) predicting big things for Ms. Portman.
The film follows the hours and days following JFK’s assassination.
“It was wild because she’s such an iconic figure and I’ve never really thought of myself as looking like her particularly,” Portman told me last night at the movie’s gala screening at AFI Fest presented by Audi when I asked about seeing herself for the first time as Jackie. “But when you have the hair and the makeup and the wardrobe, it really transforms you.”
And what a transformation it was. Close your eyes during the movie and you’ll think it’s the real Jackie you’re hearing on screen.
That voice stayed with Portman so much so that she would find herself using it off set. “Not intentionally, but unconsciously a few times,” she said with a smile. “People were like, ‘Natalie, you’re doing the Jackie voice!’ Because t’s so glamorous, you know? It’s so…extravagant.”
The Pablo Larrain-directed film co-stars Peter Sarsgaard as Robert Kennedy, Greta Gerwig as the first lady’s social sectary Nancy Tuckerman and Billy Crudup as an unnamed journalist interviewing Jackie after the funeral.
The movie is a haunting reminder of the assassination, but also takes a look inside Jackie’s final days in the White House. Watching Portman drinking, popping pills and smoking while roaming through the White House is operatic and intimate at the same time. Seeing her spin out of control while trying to control the aftermath is mesmerizing.
Award season isn’t the only thing Portman has to look forward to these days. She’s pregnant with her and her choreographer husband Benjamin Millepied‘s second child. Their son Aleph is five years old.
The actress looked gorgeous last night in a loose fitting Christian Dior gown with a smiling sun design perfectly positioned over her baby bump. She wore a matching tuxedo jacket.
Portman revealed she was expecting in September when she slipped into baby bump hugging gown at the Venice Film Festival for the premiere of Planetarium.
Fox Searchlight releases Jackie in theaters on Dec. 2.