Natalie Portman is very thankful for her special, very appropriate relationship with Mike Nichols.
The Black Swan star talks about how the famed director was her favorite male mentor in the book Mike Nichols: A Life— out now — in which author Mark Harris chronicles the legacy of The Graduate filmmaker, who died in 2014 at 83 years old.
In the book, the Oscar winning actress remembers how Nichols was “the only older man who mentored me without there ever being a creepy element in it,” musing:
“I think he was a genuine feminist. 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.”
We’d comment on how sweet her words were, if it didn’t also mean that literally every other male mentor she’s worked with was a certified creep.
But let’s focus on the positives here: Portman was 19 when she first worked with Nicols in a Central Park production of The Seagull alongside greats like Meryl Streep and the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman. While the budding starlet was naturally intimidated to work with such Hollywood heavyweights, she says Nicols made her feel confident in her acting prowess.
The pair reunited for 2004’s Closer, which earned Portman her first Oscar nomination. Throughout filming, Nichols’ kept a protective watch on the young actress, especially during a scene at a strip club. The book explains:
“With Portman, Nichols was careful and protective, particularly in the strip club sequence, for which, at her request, he was happy to eliminate some of the nudity. ‘He wants to see my bare ass [even] less than my father would,’ said Portman at the time.”
The director’s fatherly attitude left a wonderful impression on Natalie, as the book continues:
“[Nichols] made sure [Portman] was comfortable with the angles, the costumes, and the movement, and walked her through the scene until she felt ready. ‘What he did for me…’ she says. ‘Lord, may I have that ability to offer that kind of mentorship and guidance to one other person.’”
We’re so happy to hear that the star had such an amazing experience with this older director — but, again, this also means the other male “mentors” of Natalie’s left a much different, much creepier impression on her. What do U think about these comments, Perezcious readers?
[Image via WENN]