Playing Jackie O was Portman's 'most dangerous' role

Natalie Portman and Lily-Rose Depp premiere their new film, Planetarium, out of competition at the Venice Film Festival.
Actress Natalie Portman attends the Premiere of the movie Planetarium presented out of competition at the 73rd Venice Film Festival on Sept 8, 2016 at Venice Lido.
Actress Natalie Portman attends the Premiere of the movie Planetarium presented out of competition at the 73rd Venice Film Festival on Sept 8, 2016 at Venice Lido.PHOTO: AFP

VENICE • Chilean director Pablo Larrain says his portrayal of former United States first lady Jacqueline Kennedy in the aftermath of her husband John F. Kennedy's assassination is not a biopic but rather a chance to look at an intriguing, painful story from her point of view.

He was speaking at the Venice Film Festival where Jackie, starring Natalie Portman, premiered on Wednesday and is competing against 19 other movies for the coveted Golden Lion that will be awarded on Saturday.

"I believe that Jackie was someone incredibly mysterious, probably one of the most unknown among the known people," he told a press conference.

The movie, his first English-language feature, shows the new widow in the first week after the assassination as she struggles to come to terms with the tragedy and her own grief.

At the same time, she seeks to comfort her two young children and prepare her husband's funeral in a way that will make his death meaningful, but also allow her to be remembered as more than a fashion icon.

Portman, who won an Oscar for the 2010 ballet thriller Black Swan, said portraying someone whose looks, speech and gestures were known to everyone made this the "most dangerous" role she had ever played.

Also on Wednesday, American director Terrence Malick's spectacular Voyage Of Time premiered in competition. Set to compositions by classical music masters Bach and Mahler and narrated by Oscar winner Cate Blanchett, the feature is a story of the universe and a hymn to life.

Malick (The Tree Of Life, 2011) spent more than a decade working on the film, which was made with a team of special effects artists led by Dan Glass (The Matrix Reloaded, 2003). A 45-minute Imax version will also be released, narrated by actor Brad Pitt.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 09, 2016, with the headline 'Playing Jackie O was Portman's 'most dangerous' role'. Print Edition | Subscribe