Natalie Portman is thinking back to “Léon, the Professional”.
The 1994 film, directed by Luc Besson, stars Portman as a young orphan who is led by a professional hitman (Jean Reno) after her family is murdered. Portman was 11 when she was cast in her debut film which had overtones of a sexual relationship.
“It’s a film that is still loved and people come to me talking about it more than anything I’ve ever done,” said Portman The Hollywood Reporter,” and it gave me my career, but definitely, when you look at it now, it definitely has some awkward aspects to it, to say the least. So yeah, it’s complicated for me.
Portman has faced charges against “Léon, the Professional” director Luc Besson, who was accused in 2018 of repeatedly raping Dutch-Belgian actress Sand Van Roy over the course of two years. The case against Besson was dropped in 2021 after an investigation.
“It’s devastating,” Portman said of Besson’s allegations, adding that she was “obviously” shocked by the claims.
“I really didn’t know that,” Portman explained of her experience with Besson. “I was a working kid. I was a child. But I don’t want to say anything that would invalidate anyone’s experience.”
The ‘V for Vendetta’ actress previously compared ‘Léon, the Professional’ to ‘Lolita’ and opened up about being ‘sexualized’ at age 11.
“I was definitely aware of being portrayed as this ‘Lolita’ figure,” Portman said in 2020. I (feel) like the way I could be safe is to say ‘I’m conservative’ and ‘I’m serious and you should respect me” and “I’m smart” and “don’t look at me that way.’”
She added: “So many people had this impression of me being super serious and conservative and I realized I consciously nurtured it because it was always to make me feel safe. Like, ‘Oh, if someone respects you, they won’t objectify you.’ When I was a teenager, I was like, ‘I don’t want to have love scenes or hand-kissing scenes.’ I would start choosing less sexy parts because it made me concerned about how I was perceived and how safe I felt.