Natalie Portman has reflected on her debut role in Léon: The Professional, referring to the film as “cringey”.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the actress spoke about the 1994 Luc Bensson-directed film where she starred as Mathilda Lando, a lonely 12-year-old who befriends Léon, her neighbour and Italian hitman.
“It’s a movie that’s still beloved, and people come up to me about it more than almost anything I’ve ever made,” she told The Hollywood Reporter. “It gave me my career, but it is definitely when you watch it now, it definitely has some cringey, to say the least, aspects to it. So, yes, it’s complicated for me.”
The film was Portman’s acting debut, and she was cast when she was 11 years old. Over recent years, however, the film received some criticism for its undertones suggesting a sexual relationship.
In 2018, Besson was accused of raping Dutch-Belgian actress Sand Van Roy over the course of two years. Several other woman described “inappropriate sexual behaviour” by the director but did not press charges. He denied all of the claims and the case was dismissed in 2021 after an investigation.
Portman went on to address the allegations against Besson in the interview.
When asked about her reaction to the French film director’s sexual abuse allegations, the actress responded: “It’s devastating.” She also reflected on her time working with him sharing: “I really didn’t know. I was a kid working. I was a kid. But I don’t want to say anything that would invalidate anyone’s experience.”
Portman will star in Todd Haynes’ May December alongside Julianne Moore and Charles Melton. The film is set to on May 20 at the Cannes Film Festival.
In other news, Chris Tucker explained why Prince turned down his role in Luc Besson’s 1997 film The Fifth Element.
The actor and comedian revealed that the pop icon rejected the role of Ruby Rodd due to him not liking the cosumes. Tucker shared: “He said, ‘Well, I didn’t like the costumes. I didn’t like those.’ And I looked at him and I said, ‘But you got your butt hanging out your pants!’ He said, ‘But this is my design, my design.’”