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Natalie Portman says method acting is a ‘luxury that women can’t afford’

By Issy Ronald, CNN

(CNN) — Oscar-winning actress Natalie Portman has called method acting “a luxury that women can’t afford,” adding that she’s never used the technique.

“I’ve gotten very into roles, but I think it’s honestly a luxury that women can’t afford,” she told the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) in an interview published Monday.

“I don’t think that children or partners would be very understanding of, you know, me making everyone call me ‘Jackie Kennedy’ all the time,” a reference to the 2016 movie “Jackie,” which follows the former first lady, played by Portman, in the wake of her husband’s assassination.

During the WSJ interview, Portman discussed her role in Todd Haynes’ new movie “May December,” in which she plays a fictional actress Elizabeth Berry, sent to shadow a woman with a sordid past, in preparation for portraying her in a movie.

Portman’s no stranger to intensive preparation, undergoing five hours a day of grueling ballet training six days a week for several months for “Black Swan.” However, she says she’s never used method acting.

The technique was founded by Russian theater director Konstantin Stanislavski in the 1900s and further developed by legendary acting coach Lee Strasberg, according to the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute.

It encourages actors to use their “physical, mental and emotional self” to create a character while drawing on their own life experiences for the role, the institute adds, and provokes differing responses among actors as to its usefulness.

Some actors including Jeremy Strong, Daniel Day-Lewis and Robert De Niro are known to have used the immersive technique, which can see stars staying in character during a project.

Female actors have used it too. In 2021, Lady Gaga told British Vogue that method acting helped her portray socialite Patrizia Reggiani in the fashion biopic “House of Gucci,” for which she earned a Golden Globe nomination.

However, other actors have expressed their reservations about the technique.

“Succession” star Brian Cox told “Late Night with Seth Meyers” in 2021 that he worried about his co-star Strong’s approach to acting, “because if you can’t separate yourself – because you’re dealing with all of this material every day, you can’t live in it – eventually you get worn out.”

Meanwhile, Meryl Streep said she “was so depressed” while using the technique to play Miranda Priestly in “The Devil Wears Prada.”

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CNN’s Sana Noor Haq contributed to this report.

Article Topic Follows: CNN – Entertainment

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