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How Natalie Portman is affected by her work in ‘Léon: The Professional’

Portman says the film she made at age 13 is “complicated” for her.

Portman says the film she made at age 13 is “complicated” for her.

Natalie Portman’s debut film, 1993′s ‘Léon: The Professional’, has had lingering impacts on her and that she still has “complicated” feelings about the film.

Portman was 13 years old at the time of filming.

The actress said she never really realized the impact of the movie, where she played an orphaned child learning to be an assassin from her hitman neighbor, but now is looking at the experience with fresh eyes.

The impact of making ‘Léon: The Professional’

The actress spoke with the Hollywood Reporter to promote her latest film, ‘May December’, which will premiere at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival, and while she was there, Portman took a walk down memory lane to the making of her first movie.

Portman said she has “complicated” memories surrounding the making of the film, as several women had accused director Luc Besson of sexual misconduct.

“It’s a movie that’s still beloved, and people come up to me about it more than almost anything I’ve ever made,” Portman said.

Complicated for a child

After being questioned about her thoughts on the sexual misconduct allegations toward the director, Portman said these things were seen most clearly in hindsight.

“I really didn’t know,” she said. “I was a kid working. I was a kid.”

“It gave me my career, but it is definitely, when you watch it now, it definitely has some cringey, to say the least, aspects to it,” Portman admitted. “So, yes, it’s complicated for me.”

Should children work in Hollywood?

Portman elaborated further about the tensions surrounding working with children in Hollywood.

“I always want to tell [child actors] to treat it as a game more than a job because I don’t think kids should really have jobs,” the actress explained, adding that there were a lot of positive elements to working in the industry as a child as well.

“It was fun. I definitely knew how to take things seriously as a kid, but I loved it,” Portman revealed. “I really, really loved it.”


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