Oscar winner Natalie Portman spoke about her illustrious career this week during a public conversation in honor of the 40th anniversary of the Toronto Film Festival. When the moderator, festival artistic director Cameron Bailey, brought up her celebrated indie-pop film Garden State, Portman expressed how much she loved shooting the film and working with director/actor Zach Braff, but she also revealed that lately she’s been feeling insecure about her involvement with the project.
According to Vulture, Portman made the admission while discussing her love for the hit Comedy Central sitcom Broad City.
“I’ve been insecure about it recently because of Broad City. Does anyone here watch Broad City? Best show. If you haven’t watched it, watch it.”
“And on the show there’s a really dorky character who’s a gym instructor, like an Equinox guy or something, and he’s the worst. And he’s like, ‘Oh my God, I love Garden State! I donated all my money to Zach Braff’s Kickstarter.'”
“And I’m like (Portman buried her head in her hands) ‘Oh my God.’ So now, because the people I think are the coolest think it’s really lame I’m kind of insecure about it.”
Braff’s 2004 directorial debut was initially met with impressive reviews and still has a 86% on Rotten Tomatoes. The film was made on a $2.5 million budget and earned over $35 million at the box office. As Cinema Blend reports, Garden State “has since been turned into a rather cult commodity.”
Shortly before stepping behind the camera, Zach was the star on the hit comedy series Scrubs, earning $350,000 per episode. His Garden State Kickstarter campaign aimed to raise $2 million in a month, but managed to surpass that goal in the first 48 hours. However, some took exception to him using the platform to gather funding for the film. At that time, many considered Kickstarter to be a service exclusive for indie artists who don’t have access to Braff’s resources and Hollywood connections.
While promoting his follow-up comedy-drama Wish I Was Here, Zach said he was “shocked” by the criticism he received for using Kickstarter.
“I was completely taken aback by the criticism,” he said. “I was expecting a conversation because it’s a fascinating and new model. But I felt that a lot of the criticism was unfair and uninformed.”
“It was frustrating having the debate with people who didn’t have all the analytics and facts,” he continued. “I knew that we were driving new people to Kickstarter who then invested in other projects, for example. The onus was on me to explain why someone like me couldn’t get a film made in the traditional way.”
Braff said he would never turn to crowdfunding to help finance a film again. Meanwhile, Natalie’s directorial debut A Tale of Love and Darkness, centers on the conflict between Jews and Palestinian Arabs during the establishment of the State of Israel after World War II, EW reports. It premiered this week at the Toronto International Film Festival.
“It’s essentially an immigrant story,” Portman said during an interview at the People, InStyle, and Entertainment Weekly photo studio at TIFF. “Moving to a place that you’ve idealized from afar, and when you get there, idealizing the place where you came from, which is quite a universal immigrant experience.”
Check out the video below of Natalie Portman discussing her directorial debut.
[Image via Jason Merritt/Getty Images]