Natalie Portman’s Directorial Debut Will Be Historical And Personal

Natalie Portman is looking to accomplish a number of things in her directorial debut. The actress, who is stepping behind the camera for the first time is taking on a rather big project in A Tale of Love and Darkness a historical biopic about the birth of the Israeli state and famed writer Amos Oz. Natalie Portman will be showing how Oz’s life changed during his early years as Israel was first created.

Natalie Portman has more than just a filmmaker’s interest in this project. The actress was born in Israel and still has family that lives there. According to the Associated Press, she also had grandparents that lived through the Holocaust and actually were among the first settlers who moved into Israel when the Jewish state was re-established following World War II. “When I read the book it was the first time I could visualize an entire film in my head. It really just inspired so many images right away,” Natalie Portman said on Thursday ahead of the film’s premiere in Jerusalem. “It was also so personal. I related to so many of the stories because of family histories that I’ve grown up with and the nostalgia for a country that maybe is not what you think it is.”

Natalie Portman says that Oz gave the actress turned director his blessing when he heard about the project. He also apparently gave her a piece of advice. “His one sort of specification was ‘Please make your own piece. Don’t just film the book. Make something that is from you. Make your own creation.’ So it was very liberating,” she said. Oz is certainly an interesting subject in his own right. The author has been nominated for a number of Nobel Prizes. The fact that the writer was able to document the rise of the Jewish state in Israel makes Natalie Portman’s project especially insightful.

In some regards, doing this kind of a project is a way for Natalie Portman to return to her roots. The star’s family moved to the United States when she was still a young girl, but she’s held on to her history. Those in the know say that Natalie Portman still speaks fluent, if heavily accented Hebrew. She’s never been shy to talk about her heritage, but she’s never really been able to celebrate it quite like this. That’s why Natalie Portman’s directorial debut checks off quite a few boxes.

[Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images]