Miami Living Magazine

Natalie Portman

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actor when you have something like that, you’re just like, how do you thread it from one thought to another so that it has logic and variation and isn’t monotonous? Like you have to find those ebbs and flows. But it was amazing writing and also, Julianne gave me the gift of all gifts when she created this character that I was like drawing from, of course. She figured out the character that I was getting to mimic. There’s so many levels in this – you’re an actress, playing an actress following an actress, it goes on and on? Natalie Portman: There are many layers. Julianne, can you talk about coming up with the distinctive voice that you used for gracie? Julianne Moore: There’s that moment I think as an actor when you’re trying to make a vocal choice and you’re like, ‘Oh can I do this? Is it the right thing to do?’ I mean, first of all, technically when you make decisions artistically but you also make decisions collectively in film and within a film. And I knew full well that there was something I needed to do that Natalie could do. So you start kind of thinking about it. And I know that that’s a reality but I’m also sort of like looking for Gracie and in doing kind of my research and looking at a lot of our resource material too, I did notice something in Mary Kay Letourneau’s speech pattern. She doesn’t have a lisp, but she did have a certain, a sort of the way she held her mouth. And I was really intrigued by it. And because of Gracie’s insistence on her femininity and the childlike quality that she presents all the time, I wanted to kind of lean into that. So that’s sort of where that happened. You know, all of it, the nap dress with the fluffy thing and always the capped sleeves and the ruffles and stuff and talking about how protected she was – her narrative of being a child, almost. And so the lisp was something that kind of illuminated that and then also worked for us technically too. But it is really scary, because when I started doing it, Todd was like, ‘Are you doing a lisp?’ [laughs] And I was like, ‘Yeah!’ Natalie, how was it preparing to play julianne’s character? Natalie Portman: I had no idea what we were going to do because we didn’t rehearse and I was like, ‘Oh my god, I’m going to have to act like her but I don’t know what she’s going to act like and we’re starting to shoot. Julianne Moore: And there was a period too where we had all these scheduling problems and it looked maybe they were going to start with Natalie before I even arrived to Savannah and Todd was like, ‘So do you think you could Zoom with Natalie and just like do some stuff.’ [laughs] I mean we were really just freaked out and then luckily our schedules all kind of aligned. But there were lots of very, very rapid decisions in terms of behaviour. But Todd gives you so much context as an actor, I talk about this a lot, about the frame that he operates and I know this because the five times I’ve worked with him he makes it so easy because I know where I am in time, I know where I am physically, I know what the shot is, I know what he is communicating with the shot, he shares with you all his research, all of his ideas. So he communicates to me what he wants in everything that he does. So he gives me all of this information and then I’m able to make decisions. You’re never, never alone. You have so much support. He makes everything very easy. It’s like he does all the work, honestly.

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