How 'Star Wars' nearly ruined Natalie Portman's career

Currently, everyone’s collectively excited for John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver and Oscar Isaac. They are the newcomers to the Star Wars universe, and most assume that landing high-profile gigs in "The Force Awakens" can only boost their individual careers. Well, Natalie Portman would like to remind them that Star Wars isn’t always the benefit fans might assume it to be. 

Natalie Portman, of course, held down the pivotal role of Padme Amidala in George Lucas’ prequel trilogy, starting with "Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace." But the way Portman remembers it, the films did more harm than good. While speaking with New York Magazine about the ways that the late film director Mike Nichols influenced her career, Portman recalls:

"'Star Wars' had come out … and everyone thought I was a horrible actress. I was in the biggest-grossing movie of the decade, and no director wanted to work with me. Mike wrote a letter to Anthony Minghella and said, ‘Put her in 'Cold Mountain,' I vouch for her.’ And then Anthony passed me on to Tom Tykwer, who passed me on to the Wachowskis."

MORE: Why Mark Hamill was convinced they'd never make any more 'Star Wars' movies

And just like that, Natalie Portman had been rescued. Her work in "Cold Mountain" and "V for Vendetta" reestablished her as a performer with credibility. Her role as a stripper in Nichols’ own "Closer" probably helped remind people that she was far more than just Amidala. And, in time, she went on to claim a Best Actress Oscar for her incredible work in Darren Aronofsky’s blistering ballet drama "Black Swan."

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