February 10, 2021 9:40:47 pm
Actor Natalie Portman, who worked with late director Mike Nichols in multiple projects (The Seagull, Closer), has revealed that he was the only “non-creepy” male mentor she had. The revelation took place in a recent book on the director by Mark Harris, for which she had shared a story. Titled Mike Nichols: A Life, it is a biography of one of the most celebrated creative forces.
A report in IndieWire cites a portion from the portion of the book where the actor has been quoted as saying the following: “‘I was nineteen…and I hadn’t done anything I had needed to research except for Anne Frank. I’d watch Phil [Hoffman] write down question after question in his notebook, and Meryl [Streep] would make up songs to sing and put them in her pocket just in case her character suddenly wanted to burst into song.” At that moment she turned to the director who was a source of great support. “He the only older man who mentored me without there ever being a creepy element in it,” she said.
This was in relation to the adaption of Anton Chekhov’s play The Seagull (2001). “I think he was a genuine feminist,” Portman continued as quoted in the book. “There was nothing, nothing, nothing there except him seeing you as a creative, interesting, talented human. It is the rarest, finest quality, and not many directors of his generation had it.”
Speaking of her breakthrough role in Closer (2004) where she essayed the role of a stripper in the latter half of the film, the actor stated that Nichols was particularly protective and did not want her to do anything she was not comfortable with.
“What he did for me… Lord, may I have that ability to offer that kind of mentorship and guidance to one other person,” she said in the book, as per the report.
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