Natalie Portman has been a vocal proponent of the “Time’s Up” initiative, and in a new interview with Porter magazine, she explained that she’s been diving more and more into her own past experiences as a result of it.
“I went from thinking, ‘I don’t have a story’ to ‘Oh, wait, I have 100 stories,'” she said. “And I think a lot of people are having these reckonings with themselves, of things that we just took for granted as, like, this part of the process.”
One incident she recalled in particular involved a flight on a private plane with an unnamed producer who tried to make a pass at Portman.
“It was just the two of us, and only one bed was made up,” she said of the producer. “Nothing happened, I was not assaulted. I did make a point of saying, ‘This does not make me feel comfortable,’ and that was respected. But that was super not OK, you know? That was really unacceptable and manipulative. I was scared.”
Last month, Portman delivered a powerful speech at the Los Angeles Women’s March, calling what she and many other actresses have had to endure in the industry “sexual terrorism.”
“At 13 years old, the message from our culture was clear to me,” she said at the time, detailing her uncomfortable experience as a preteen on the set of her film debut, The Professional. “I felt the need to cover my body and to inhibit my expression and work in order to send my own message to the world: That I’m someone worthy of safety and respect. The response to my expression from small comments about my body to more threatening deliberate statements serve to control my behavior through an environment of sexual terrorism.”
In the Porter magazine interview, the Oscar winner also stressed that these reckonings mark a critical time in the industry and in society as a whole.
“A lot of people have been speaking out for a long time and not been heard, particularly women of color,” she said. “So, it’s very important the industry listens. … Recently, I’ve been spending more time with other actresses, not in a fake ‘just because we’re actresses so we should hang out’ way. I feel there’s been a shift. I felt that way on Annihilation too, working with such a strong female ensemble cast,” she continued of her new sci-fi thriller, which costars Tessa Thompson, Gina Rodriguez and Jennifer Jason Leigh. “We are used to being ‘the girl’ on set. It was such a joy to be with a group of women.”