"I've noticed that quite a lot of people who are prominent in the animal liberation movement are Jews. Maybe we are simply not prepared to see the powerful hurting the weak." --Peter Singer (Author, Animal Liberation)


Up Close and Personal With Natalie Portman

I finally got to "meet" my favorite meat-free filmmaker.

This afternoon, Natalie Portman appeared at an Apple store in the Big Apple as part of its Meet the Filmmaker series. The world's most famous vegan Jew marked the launch of MakingOf.com along with the company's CEO, Christine Aylward. MakingOf.com, which just launched yesterday, gives people an inside look at filmmaking. Portman noted that the site aims to give access to the filmmaking process "to everyone, not just the ones who have the luck of working in this, kind of, 'insider' business."

I asked Portman about "Kosher Vegetarian" and how her "religious and vegetarian/vegan identities play a role in making a film like that." (Per my March 2008 post about "Kosher Vegetarian," Portman plays the role of a Jewish woman in love with an Indian vegetarian.)

Portman said that "Kosher Vegetarian" is "a short that's part of New York, I Love You, which is coming out later this year." Portman added:

I try not to mix my beliefs too much with my filmmaking. ... I went to see [Closer director] Mike Nichols speak the other night when he was at MoMA, and he was actually saying ... the biggest job of the actor is to make a case for their character--that you have to defend your character no matter what. So if you're playing a serial killer, you have to believe in that completely. ... That's your biggest job. ... You're obviously playing people with all different belief systems that are very different from your own.
I would've loved to ask Portman additional questions, but I'm very grateful for the opportunity I had. I was able to get in as a member of the press, whereas many members of the public were turned away.

Click here to read E!'s coverage and see an AP photo from the event.

Update (4/25): I found a YouTube video that shows when I asked Natalie Portman my question. Her reaction when I mentioned "Kosher Vegetarian" is priceless. Start watching 5:40 in.


  • At 4/25/2009 6:15 AM, Blogger Energirl said…

    Wow that rocks, Michael!

  • At 4/26/2009 5:54 PM, Blogger heebnvegan said…

    Clarification: In September 2007, I wrote a post that called Alicia Silverstone the world's most famous Jewish vegan (see http://heebnvegan.blogspot.com/2007/09/alicia-silverstone-worlds-most-famous.html). Natalie Portman went vegan after that -- or at least the news was reported after that (see http://heebnvegan.blogspot.com/2008/04/natalie-portman-heeb-and-vegan.html).


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