As Celeste in Vox Lux, out Dec. 7, Natalie Portman gives a 13-minute stage performance worthy of all the divas her character would appear to be modeled after. Her supersized ego rivals Madonna's, and her android aesthetic, coupled with fans she refers to as “little angels,” overlaps more than a bit with a certain fame monster. Even so, Portman, 37, insists that her character “is clearly not based on any of those people.” Writer-director Brady Corbet has created a unique celebrity in Celeste: a pop sensation who survived a Columbine-era school shooting only to find herself on the verge of a breakdown 20 years later. Portman performs five original songs in the film, all of which were co-written by Sia and, months after wrapping, remain stuck in her head.
What surprised you about playing a pop star?
I didn't realize how challenging squatting in stilettos is. You really need to be in incredible shape. And I never thought about how hard it is to know what to do with your microphone. Even just knowing all the lyrics and being able to dance at the same time is a skill.