Natalie Portman talks Vox Lux and portraying a pop star
Actor Natalie Portman has spent much of her life in the spotlight. Starting with her starring role as Mathilda in the 1994 crime drama The Professional, her career has blossomed into an array of challenging roles. For her latest project, the musical drama Vox Lux, she was able to draw from her own experience to help inform the character of Celeste.
“I definitely had the experiences of what people expect of you, and what strangers expect of you, so all of that I could draw from, even though I’ve never had anything as massive as Celeste in this film had,” Portman told ComingSoon ahead of the film’s opening night screening at the Austin Film Festival. “The experience of an actor is very different from that of a pop star.”
To prepare for the role of Celeste, Portman did get to experience a bit of life as a pop sensation. “It was really fun getting to record all the music, seeing the magic that the producers can do, and learning the choreography, so I got a little bit of experience of what its like to prepare for a show. And watching all the documentaries I could find to understand what that life was like, the family around a pop star that travels with them.”
While Portman’s portrayal of Celeste was based on an amalgamation of pop stars, rather than based on any one in particular, she feels that the character will strike a particular resonance with audiences thanks to the celebrity-driven world we live in. “She’s a really wild character that we haven’t seen before. It’s really a reflection of the time, [with] pop culture, violence and media… what you pay attention to becomes what’s important.”
Vox Lux follows the rise of Celeste from the ashes of a major national tragedy to pop superstardom. The film spans 15 years and traces important cultural moments through the singer’s eye, starting in 1999 and ending in the present day. Grammy-nominated recording artist Sia will write all the original songs for the film.
The movie begins in 1999 when teenage sisters Celeste (Raffey Cassidy) and Eleanor (Stacy Martin) survive a seismic, violent tragedy. The sisters compose and perform a song about their experience, making something lovely and cathartic out of catastrophe — while also catapulting Celeste to stardom. By 2017, the now 31-year-old Celeste (Natalie Portman) is mother to a teenage daughter of her own and struggling to navigate a career fraught with scandals when another act of terrifying violence demands her attention.
The film stars Academy Award winner Natalie Portman (Black Swan, Annihilation, Thor: The Dark World), Jude Law (Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, Captain Marvel), Raffey Cassidy (Tomorrowland, The Killing of a Sacred Deer), Stacy Martin and Jennifer Ehle.
Written and directed by Brady Corbet (The Childhood of a Leader), Vox Lux is produced by Andrew Lauren and D.J. Gugenheim alongside Killer Films’ Christine Vachon and David Hinojosa, Bold Films’ Michel Litvak, Gary Michael Walters, David Litvak and Svetlana Metkina and Brian Young from Three Six Zero Entertainment. Portman, Law and Sia will executive produce.
Vox Lux will arrive in select theaters on December 7, 2018.