Natalie Portman: ‘No one would make Leon today’

Natalie Portman is convinced her breakout movie Leon: The Professional would never get made today.The Oscar-winning actress was 13 when she landed the lead role in Luc Besson’s 1994 action thriller, with the film also starring Jean Reno and Gary Oldman…

Natalie Portman is convinced her breakout movie Leon: The Professional would never get made today.

The Oscar-winning actress was 13 when she landed the lead role in Luc Besson’s 1994 action thriller, with the film also starring Jean Reno and Gary Oldman.

But while Natalie had a blast playing a protegee of an assassin on set, she’s not sure the idea of an ultra-violent movie based around a teenager would get greenlit in 2019.

“I appreciate it when something connects with an audience,” she said in an interview with Empire. “It also gave me my career on a platter and was a 100 per cent a positive experience. I loved doing it. But you watch and it’s largely inappropriate.

“There’s a lot of stuff in there that’s not amazing through today’s eyes. I think because people are still connected to it and care about it and I personally did not have anything but positive feelings, I still feel more on the proud side. Even though I totally understand, I don’t know how I’d show that to my kids.”

Natalie and her ballet choreographer husband Benjamin Millepied are parents to seven-year-old son Aleph and two-year-old daughter Amalia.

And while the star has achieved mainstream success for her performances as Padme Amidala in the Star Wars prequel films and features like Closer, Garden State, The Other Boleyn Girl, Black Swan and Jacqueline Kennedy biopic Jackie, she is adamant that Leon: The Professional is the flick that fans ask her the most questions about.

“It’s still the thing people come up to me the most on the street, even more than Star Wars or Black Swan,” the 37-year-old insisted.

© Cover Media

Luc Besson rape case dropped

French prosecutors have dropped an investigation into rape allegations against filmmaker Luc Besson. The director was accused of sexually assaulting an actress in a Paris hotel. Besson denied the allegations when they first surfaced last summer (18). …

French prosecutors have dropped an investigation into rape allegations against filmmaker Luc Besson.

The director was accused of sexually assaulting an actress in a Paris hotel. Besson denied the allegations when they first surfaced last summer (18).

Now, the case has been dropped because prosecutors could not fully support the claims against him.

The Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets director’s lawyer, Thierry Marembert, confirmed the decision on Monday (25Feb19), stating: “This decision follows a very thorough investigation carried out by judicial police, which he (Besson) fully co-operated with.”

Besson was also accused of sexual misconduct by several other women last summer. He vehemently denied all the allegations in a statement issued via his lawyer at the time.

Four unnamed women spoke to French publication Mediapart about their alleged experiences with the moviemaker.

One, a 49-year-old former casting director, claimed she had written to the Paris public prosecutor to denounce his behaviour and alleged in a statement that he had sexually assaulted her.

“Very often, he just arrived and stood behind my back while I was coaching actors and he kissed me on the neck. On other occasions, he forced me to sit on his lap,” she alleged. “Very often, Luc Besson asked me, in front of a technician, to give him oral sex, which I refused each time.

“Each time we were taking the elevator together, he forced me to kiss him, putting his tongue in my mouth, and, even though I was pushing him back, he was taking me in his arms and was touching my breasts and bottom.”

Another accuser claimed he “jumped” on her and tried to kiss her during an interview in Paris, and a third woman was a former employee of EuropaCorp, the production company co-founded by Besson, who alleged that the 59-year-old forcefully attempted to kiss her and asked her to have sex with him.

© Cover Media

Luc Besson’s film school to temporarily close

Officials at Luc Besson’s film school in France are temporarily closing its doors to “reorganise” following funding issues. The Lucy director launched L’Ecole de la Cite at his EuropaCorp movie studio headquarters just outside Paris in 2012, with the …

Officials at Luc Besson’s film school in France are temporarily closing its doors to “reorganise” following funding issues.

The Lucy director launched L’Ecole de la Cite at his EuropaCorp movie studio headquarters just outside Paris in 2012, with the aim of accepting 30 students from various backgrounds annually to attend a free two-year programme to learn all about filmmaking.

However, applicants for the 2018 course have recently been taking to social media to share details from their rejection letters, which explained that there would be no intake of students this autumn (18).

The school hit headlines again on Monday (23Jul18) as founding director Laurent Jaudon announced he was leaving the facility, effective immediately, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Now a spokesperson for Besson’s EuropaCorp firm has confirmed the school’s operation is under review, due to a lack of financial backing, and as a result, students who enrolled in 2017 will not be back in class in September (18).

The representative explains they will “take advantage of the summer to reorganise,” while they have also “decided to postpone the recruitment of new students”.

“Because of insufficient state funding and because private donations are not at the necessary level, the school must redefine the conditions for financial balance,” they added in a statement.

Since its opening, L’Ecole de la Cite has been funded by donations from executives at a number of sponsors, including luxury fashion group Kering and French network TF1, but the financial contributions have fallen significantly since the school’s first year in business, from $2.1 million (£1.6 million) to just $210,000 (£160,230) last year (17), the outlet reports.

Besson has yet to personally comment on the school’s financial struggles, but it’s the latest drama he’s had to face, after he was accused of sexual misconduct from a number of women.

Actress Sand Van Roy first filed a police complaint against the Fifth Element director in May (18), alleging he had drugged and raped her during a meeting at a Paris hotel, while earlier this month (Jul18), four other unnamed females went public with their alleged experiences of inappropriate behaviour against the 59-year-old in an article for French publication Mediapart.

Besson has vehemently denied all allegations.

Meanwhile, he has also battled tough times financially for EuropaCorp following the low box office gross of 2017 sci-fi epic Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, which starred Dane DeHaan, Cara Delevingne, Clive Owen, and Rihanna.

The movie cost more than $200 million (£152.6 million) to make, but grossed just $225.8 million (£172.3 million) worldwide, and company bosses subsequently posted losses of $135 million (£103 million) during the last financial year, and laid off 22 employees in January (18).

© Cover Media