Friendships don’t come as easily to Natalie Portman as A-list film roles.
The 37-year-old actress revealed in an interview with Vanity Fair published Tuesday that she’s “never had any friendships in [her] industry until now.”
“You’re usually the [only] girl in the movie,” she explained, adding that the Time’s Up and #MeToo movements, dedicated to weeding out sexual abuse in Hollywood, helped her build relationships with fellow women on set.
“It’s made us come together. We’re actively gathering. Just the power of us getting to know other women in our own industry and sharing information that can help us be safer, more productive, more successful,” she mused.
Even though Portman has been on camera for some 25 years, she hasn’t experienced the same horrors that many of her costars have. But that doesn’t mean she’s any less willing to advocate for change.
“All the stuff that’s going on, it’s this weird thing of having been in all of those environments,” she told the magazine. “Like the set of Beautiful Girls — every woman in that movie has come forward.”
At 15 years old, she acted in that film alongside Mira Sorvino, Uma Thurman, and Lauren Holly, who all have formally accused now-disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein.
“I was able somehow not to have an experience like that, so it’s definitely a weird, privileged place to hold,” she continued. “Learning what so many women have been through and were going through right next to me … These were women that I admired so much and felt lucky to work with. They were super kind to me and super supportive, amazing role models. It was completely shocking to know that they were going through that.”
The mother of two does admit she heard the rumors years ago but didn’t “[take] them as truth” because she didn’t know “who it had happened to.”
Now, though, she understands that “we’re in a culture where it is regular for men to behave badly and for women to be hurt … But it is a complete shift because all of us were like, ‘Oh, God, he’s a bad dude,’ and now it’s ‘No, this is abusive behavior — not just a bad dude.’ ”
“I am forever grateful for Natalie,” the Captain Marvel actress, 29, said. “She has the most miraculous problem-solving brain. Paired with her gigantic, knowing heart, she is a force I am so grateful to collaborate with.”
The Oscar winner’s advocacy for gender equality was recently recognized at Variety’s Power of Women summit, where she was an honoree. Portman spoke about her intentions to clean up Hollywood during her acceptance speech, which quickly went viral.
“Gossip well,” she encouraged. “Stop the rhetoric that a woman is crazy or difficult. If a man says to you that a woman is crazy or difficult, ask him, ‘What bad thing did you do to her?’ … That’s a code word. He’s trying to discredit her reputation. Make efforts to hire people who’ve had their reputations smeared in retaliation.”
Portman also talked about the importance of diversity in every aspect of activism — “If any group you’re in has only people who look like you, change that group,” she insisted — and gave advice for dealing with people who abuse their power.
“Don’t shy away from consequences for those who abuse their power,” Portman urged. “[They’re] not going to have a change of behavior out of the goodness of their hearts.”