How Old Was Natalie Portman in the ‘Phantom Menace’? Let’s Explore It!

In fact, before The Rise of Skywalker caused so much chaos, I would have gone so far as to say that the Prequel Trilogy was the most divisive among fans. Among all the stories ever told, the Star Wars prequels are among the most contentious.

On the one hand, it lends credence to the theory that a movie's plot can make up for its subpar acting and production values. How old was Natalie Portman in The Phantom Menace? is the topic of this article. For more details, read on.

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How Old Was Natalie Portman in the Phantom Menace?

Natalie Portman was just 17 or 18 years old when filming began on the first film in the trilogy, 1999's The Phantom Menace. Not too unlike Padmé, who is just fourteen when she becomes a fugitive queen and flees to everyone's favorite sandbox, Tatooine, where she meets Anakin Skywalker, who is only nine.

Natalie Portman as Padmé

Star Wars was Natalie Portman's first major cinematic role, however, she has been involved with the franchise for much longer. She had previously only appeared in supporting roles, such as the suicidal daughter of Al Pacino's character in Heat.

As she had never heard of the series before being cast, Portman went out of her way to watch every 1970s film she could get her hands on so that she could better immerse herself in the era.

How Old Was Natalie Portman in the Phantom Menace

Portman was set to play Queen Padmé Amidala, young Anakin Skywalker's love interest. Portman had to perfect a British accent to communicate with Padmé, who spoke with one.

She studied Katharine and Lauren Bacall's and Audrey Hepburn's accents to achieve this effect. In addition to helping her in her function as Padmé, she realized that being able to fluently speak in a variety of foreign dialects opened doors to other employment opportunities.

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Let’s Take a Glance at Natalie Portman Career

Approximately six months after the release of Ruthless!, Portman earned the lead role in Luc Besson's action film Léon: The Professional (1994). In order to protect her anonymity, she adopted her paternal grandmother's maiden name, Portman, as her stage name.

She played the part of Mathilda, a young orphan who befriends a seasoned killer. Her parents were reluctant to give their daughter the role because of the graphic sexuality and violence in the script. Nonetheless, they were receptive once Besson edited out Portman's character's nudity and the violence she engaged in.

How Old Was Natalie Portman in the Phantom Menace

Once those scenes were removed, Portman said the matter wasn't offensive to her. Though her mother enjoyed the film overall, she was disturbed by what she called the “sexual twists and turns” that weren't in the script but made it into the final cut.

Peter Rainer of the Los Angeles Times questioned Besson's sexualization of Portman's character & said that she wasn't “enough of an actress to portray Mathilda's sadness.” In The Post, Hal Hinson commended Portman for bringing a “genuine sense of sadness” to her character.

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