Natalie Portman on her Star Wars memories;
Hayden Christensen on his new Star Wars memories….
Director Taika Waititi may not remember Natalie Portman appeared in Star Wars, but Queen Amidala’s alter ego certainly does. And recently, as Portman answered questions about appearing as “The Mighty Thor” in Thor: Love and Thunder via D23’s “Inside Disney” podcast, she recounted fond memories from the Star Wars “Prequels.”
The Importance of Being Padme
Speaking to the experience of being Padmé, Portman explained how eye-opening the experience was for her at such a young age.
“Getting to travel to North Africa for the first time and being in Tunisia was really an amazing opportunity,” she recalled. “I’d never been in that kind of landscape before. And it feels like another planet.
“It was really special.”
Also special to Natalie was (and is) her prominent place in the Star Wars pantheon.
“It was amazing to get to enter a universe where there were already so many passionate fans,” said Portman. “It was very lucky to inherit that and kind of ride the coattails of that.
“I also realized the pressure of that, of course, when people love it so much, what it means to them,” continued the Oscar-winning actor.
“So, it was very quickly understood that this was a very meaningful situation for all the fans of Star Wars,” she said.
Unexpected (at least to this podcast listener) was the knowledge that Portman remains in close contact with a number of the cast and crew from The Prequels.
“I loved working with Ahmed Best,” said Portman of the Jar Jar Binks actor. “He’s still one of my very, very close friends.
“And Joel Edgerton (Owen Lars in The Prequels and Obi-Wan Kenobi) and Nash Edgerton — Joel was, of course, was in the films and Nash was also in the films as Ewan’s stunt double — so, I feel like anytime I worked with any of them was always magical because they are such good friends.
“Rose Byrne (Dormé), also, is another person I’ve been lucky to stay friends with,” she said.
Listen to the entire interview below:
“I just wanted to make it as deliberate and thoughtful as I possibly could,” he said. “This is a character that means a great deal to me.
“Coming back to him, I feel a strong responsibility. I just really wanted to make sure I put my best foot forward.”
Then, speaking to his time with Vader, Christensen also talked about inhabiting the black cape for the Obi-Wan Kenobi series.
Was it easy to jump back into the Revenge of the Sith mindset?
“Yeah, certainly to a degree,” he told D23. “When you start on something and read the script for the first time there’s this period of objective learning about what’s going on and you just sort of take in that information.
“Then it was [about] getting back into the mindset,” continued Christensen. “It’s a character that I know really well, though, and one that has stayed with me over the years. so it came very naturally to come back to it.,” he said.
Also natural was returning to work with Ewan McGregor.
“So many fond memories of [shooting with Ewan],” said Hayden. “On this one, absolutely.
“Every day we got to work together was a very special occasion and it’s because of the history that we share and all of the time spent together on The Prequels,” continued Christensen. “[During The Prequels] we would spend a lot of time together working on set, obviously. And training and in the gym.
“Some of my favorite memories were just hanging out with him at his house,” he said.
And the pair seemed to pick up right where they left off.
“We got together, a little bit before we started filming at the Santa Monica Pier for a walk together,” explained. we Christensen. “We just had a lot of catching up to do; of course just talking about how cool it was that we were going to get to step back into Star Wars again.”
Christensen was keen to keep things close to the west during the podcast, but he did talk about his favorite scene of the series.
“[Without getting into spoilers], what I can speak to that we have seen [in trailers] is the bacta tank,” he explained. “I really enjoyed getting to shoot that stuff.
“I loved that shot from Rogue One when you see Vader in the bacta tank,” continued Christensen. “So, getting to get in there myself and have the camera see a little bit more – that was good fun.”