Natalie Portman shut down Washington D.C. during the weekend of 26 February as filming for the movie Jackie took over the city. Portman has the starring role of President Kennedy’s wife Jacqueline Bouvier. According to WJLA, Portman was involved in scenes around the White House as President Kennedy’s funeral scenes were filmed. One of the most famous images of Jackie Kennedy is at the President’s funeral in 1963 with their two children, Caroline and John Junior, watching the funeral procession as John-John salutes his father’s coffin.
The movie’s production in D.C. meant that many of the city’s grid of streets including Constitution Ave NW near the National Mall, and E and F streets near the White House were closed to the public while Portman and the crew filmed. Angie Gates, director of the D.C. Office of Cable Television, Film, Music & Entertainment, told WJLA that for a movie set in the unique streetscape of Washington, on-location shooting was a must.
“You can’t duplicate the nation’s capital. You can do sound stages and sets, but at the end of the day you need the real thing, so it’s important for these companies to shoot here.”
Washington D.C. is an obvious filming location for movies involving American politics, but the uniqueness of the city — most of the famous attractions are within a small central area — with its leafy avenues and neoclassical architecture lends itself to many different genres. In movies such as Enemy Of The State, A Few Good Men, and No Way Out, the backdrop and ambiance of D.C. was as much a star as the actors.
Portman, who began filming as Jackie in Paris in December 2015, plays President Kennedy’s widow in the immediate aftermath of his 1963 assassination. Natalie is directed in the movie by Pablo Larrain, who is widely regarded as one of Chile’s greatest movie directors. He also produces movies and has recently worked on Gloria and The Club.
Natalie is the latest of an impressive line of actresses to play the former First Lady, including Minka Kelly in The Butler, Katie Holmes in The Kennedys, and Jeanne Tripplehorn in Grey Gardens.
However a picture of Natalie Portman as Jackie, released by Protozoa Pictures, shows that Natalie might just be the closest in appearance to Jackie.
According to Slashfilm, the movie has a tentative 2017 release date. The film’s script was written by Noah Oppenheim, who penned the Dylan O’Brien hit The Maze Runner. Peter Sarsgaard will play Robert Kennedy while John Hurt and Greta Gerwig will also star alongside Natalie.
An exclusive new picture, showing Natalie Portman as Jackie during the President’s funeral, was tweeted today by Entertainment Weekly.
Natalie Portman has been acting for more than 22 years, but she first rose to fame as Padme Amidala in the Star Wars prequels. Natalie won both a Golden Globe and an Oscar for the 2010 psychological thriller Black Swan. Portman can certainly give her version of Jackie the vulnerability she needs.
Portman lived in D.C. for a short time as a child, and Natalie will return to the city next month for the Washington Jewish Film Festival, as reported by the DCist. The movie A Tale of Love and Darkness, which Natalie directed, will premiere at the festival. The film is based on the memoirs of Israeli author Amos Oz; Portman wrote the screenplay and also appears in the movie.
Jackie Kennedy is one of the great American icons of the twentieth century, and Natalie Portman seems like a perfect choice to bring Jackie and her era to life. We will keep you posted on any further production news.
What do you think of the choice of Natalie Portman to play one of the most beloved First Ladies? Is it time to leave the Kennedy story alone, or will Natalie do Jackie justice? Let us know in the comments below.
[Photo by Arthur Mola/Invision/AP Images]