Holy Crap! Quint interviews Natalie Portman about V FOR VENDETTA!!!
Published at: July 21, 2005, 12:39 a.m. CST by staff
Ahoy, squirts. Quint here... there are some days when it is good to be a geekly internet loser and last Friday was one of those days. Somehow, Warner Bros decided they would let me sit down with Natalie Portman for 10 minutes and leave us two all by our lonesomes for a chat about V FOR VENDETTA. I don't know why they trusted me to be alone with one of the most beautiful girls in the world, but God bless 'em for it.
I've had a crush on Portman since I was about 13 years old and I saw THE PROFESSIONAL for the first time. Throughout the next decade my crush hadn't abated... through BEAUTIFUL GIRLS and up to GARDEN STATE she has a vulnerability and beauty that is unique to her. Shit, they shaved her head for V and she still looks adorable. I know if they shaved my head I'd look like a penis after getting caught in a mousetrap.
Portman was sweet, beautiful, kind and a very giving interviewee. My only regret is that due to them running late with the interviews I was cut off by about 3 minutes without a warning, so I couldn't ask her what her favorite dirty joke was.
So, enough with the jibber-jabber as they say. Let's get on with the interview! I present Ms. Natalie Portman!
QUINT: We better get started with this... you got about 20,000 angry, yet loving press waiting to talk to you.
NATALIE PORTMAN: (laughs) Why angry?
QUINT: Just because they're still waiting to talk to you. I'm really excited that you're doing this project. I'm a huge Alan Moore fan, but I hadn't picked up V before this Con. I've just started reading it and one of the things that immediately jumped out at me about it is that it's very politically explosive... not just in this day and age, but for this exact moment in time, considering the recent attacks on London. I was wondering if the political themes had any specific part in drawing you to this project.
NATALIE PORTMAN: Absolutely. Well, 'cause I think it's complicated trying to tell anyone how to think. You know, the hero is a hero in many ways, but is deeply flawed and homicidal in other ways and I think that complication really makes you think about a lot of ways we define violence. I think that's really positive and interesting in a world where we're constantly creating categories for what is good violence and what is bad violence. The truth is that all violence is horrible and whether it's good or not, obviously, has to do with your perspective and it's very, very subjective.
So, I think this shows that because you relate to different sides at different times and it's complicated, it's ambiguous. It's respectful of an audience that can think.
QUINT: What excited you the most about the character of Evey? What did you see in her that made you want to play her?
NATALIE PORTMAN: Well, she's someone who develops a political consciousness, which is really interesting because she's someone, in the movie, whose parents are... were... political activists who were murdered by the government. Because of that, she's sort of developed an aversion to being political because she's only seen it lead to bad things.
Also, there is an aspect to political life when it endangers your life that can be selfish if you have kids and family because you're putting your ideals before your kids... but on the other hand, maybe your kids wouldn't look up to you if you didn't stand up for your ideals, but I mean... putting your ideals first means you don't get to watch your kids grow up and they don't get to have a mom or dad or whatever. That's a big deal.
So, I thought it was interesting that someone would be a-politicized out of fear and out of that experience, then something could turn them around and make them, sort of, reenter a world of political conscience.
QUINT: What was your favorite and/or most difficult scene to shoot?
NATALIE PORTMAN: My favorite stuff was actually the light stuff, I think because, I think, most of my scenes with V that are not you know... that are not... (laughs), you know... traumatic are really sort of light and sweet and romantic.
I mean, there are scenes where he's cooking for me and where we dance together that I just love. It's people who are really intellectually engaged with each other and fighting each other and there's just so many layers to their relationship.
The most challenging... um... A lot of it was challenging. I think... there's a scene that I don't want to give away, but there's sort of a surprise twist in the middle where she learns something that is completely unexpected for her and that was a big, big scene to do because it's a transition very quickly.
QUINT: Cool. Was Hugo Weaving behind the mask the whole time?
NATALIE PORTMAN: Yeah, well... you know James Purefoy started out and after some weeks of shooting they brought in Hugo because they didn't feel it was working out. We didn't reshoot most of the stuff, they're re-voicing. They're both really, really wonderful actors and really nice people, so...
QUINT: But you always had somebody in the get-up to act with.
NATALIE PORTMAN: But there was always a great actor there! (laughs) I mean, that is hard. I don't think it has ever been done before where you have a full mask that you talk through a lot. 'Cause V talks a lllllot. Like, he has speeches that are pages long. He really is a talker and it's through a mask, which they don't do. It's either a half-mask or they take off the mask.
QUINT: Well, Hugo sounds absolutely perfect in the trailer they showed. It actually sounds like it is drawn in the book, that kind of shaky dialogue bubble.
NATALIE PORTMAN: Oh, yeah!
QUINT: And even more important, it doesn't sound like anything he's done before. I met him on RETURN OF THE KING and he was a very nice guy.
NATALIE PORTMAN: Hugo's amazing. He's one of the, if not the, nicest person I've ever met. Everyone was so in love with him. He's really, a fine, fine human being.
QUINT: You said on the panel that you didn't read the graphic novel until after you decided to be in the movie. I take it you read it before you shot...
NATALIE PORTMAN: Yeah.
QUINT: Did that influence anything that might not have been in the script?
NATALIE PORTMAN: Absolutely. A lot of the references... I got from the book. For instance, you know how all the chapter titles are different V words that relate to the character and also how they act... like all the theatricality of it I think you got more from the book than the script. Like all the vaudeville... all of those ideas of how they behaved.
Also, some of the references, some of the Shakespeare references.... There are Shakespeare references in the movie as well, but reading up on the history of the Shakespeare plays and stuff like that was really helpful.
And that's that, the end of the line. Didn't she sound sweet? Wasn't that Shakespeare talk just BEGGING to be followed up by a filthy, disgusting, hilarious joke? I think so. Oh well. Maybe next time? I'll start preparing by working out and making myself into a fine specimen of manhood so that I may sweep her off her feet and elope in the rolling hills of New Zealand. A bloke can dream, can't he?
Hope you enjoyed the little chat. That's one of six people I interviewed at the Con (yet only the first 3 beautiful actresses I interviewed... and I even got one of these other beauties to tell a dirty joke!), so keep your eyes out for more. 'Til then this is Quint bidding you all a fond farewell and adieu.