With a new role comes new challenges, but also exciting new experiences! With Vox Lux, in which Natalie Portman plays a rising pop star who parlays a personal tragedy into national fame, she also got to belt out tunes by one of her favourite singers, Sia. “I love Sia’s music,” she told Hello! and a small group of reporters ahead of the film’s premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. “She’s incredible. I mean, I really came to have a massive respect for pop music through listening to her so much for this movie.”
The music-driven drama follows the life of young Celeste (Raffey Cassidy) after she survives a traumatic school shooting. Recovering from a gunshot wound, she and her sister Eleanor (Stacy Martin) find joy in writing music together, which catapults her into stardom as a musical prodigy. Grown-up Celeste (Natalie) navigates her personal relationships – with her manager ( Jude Law), her daughter Albertine (also played by Raffey) and her sister – while struggling with the trials and tribulations of being a superstar.
As someone whose fruitful career started at a tender age – playing powerful roles in movies like Léon: The Professional (1994) as a young girl and, more recently, winning an Oscar for Black Swan (2010) – the mother of two was taken by her young co-star’s talent. “It was really impressive to see how she was able to create these two different characters,” Natalie gushed. “She was just remarkable to work with and a really good, kind person also, which is really fun to get to watch.”
Though she had a double in Black Swan, Natalie trained for six months to transform into a professional ballerina – a skill that came in handy as she fine-tuned her dancing to play Celeste in a far more limited time frame. “It was daunting because we didn’t have much time,” she explained. “Luckily, the choreographer was my husband [Benjamin Millepied, who she met while filming Black Swan], so I got to [practise] at home, which was great!”
Natalie has certainly picked up a lot of new talents on set, so might we one day see her perform some of her Vox Lux songs in concert? “I think it would be ill-advised,” she joked. “If Sia would perform them, I’d much rather watch her do it.”
Vox Lux hits Toronto theatres on Dec. 21 and Vancouver theatres on Jan. 11