While Natalie Portman has spent most of her life on the silver screen, she’s also been known to dabble in the short-form world as well. And since Portman is something of a musical muse for artists (there’s more than one song named after her), she’s had her share of screen time in music videos.
Before we dive into Portman’s newest music video, let’s go back in time and relive her other musical clips:
World Patrol Kids – “Kids Can Change the World” (1991)
Before she was cast in her first film, Leon: The Professional, in 1994, Portman had her talents booked elsewhere: with the World Patrol Kids. Back in 1991, Portman was just a 10-year-old with dreams to save the world through recycling. The young environmental advocates had songs like “Recycle It!” and “Kids Can Change the World” (you can witness her verse at 1:17 in the video above).
When she appeared on James Corden’s The Late Late Show in 2016, he brought up her stint in the environmental kid band, and Portman explained how embarrassed she was. “There were, like, eight people who would come in and out. We would perform at, like, Earth Day,” she said. “I was really dorky, OK?”
The Lonely Island – “Natalie’s Rap” (2005)
Do you remember how funny this was when it came out? It was all anyone talked about for weeks! And for good reason. Portman’s Hollywood image at the time had her poised and pulled together — after all, she was starring as a queen in the Star Wars movies and was attending Harvard for psychology simultaneously. So when she hosted Saturday Night Live (with musical guest Fall Out Boy), The Lonely Island helped her shed her “good girl” image and tell the story about how she wanted to %&#$, $#&*$ and &$*&#$. Honestly, most of the song is bleeped out, but let’s just say there’s talk of copulating and defecating and THC. The song later made it to The Lonely Island’s debut album, 2009’s Incredibad.
Six years after the video came out, Lonely Island member Andy Samberg revealed how Portman convinced SNL to do the vulgar skit: “When she came to host SNL, she said, ‘I really want to do one of those raps,’” he told Playboy in 2012. “We were skeptical because we thought of her the same way everybody else did. She seems so sweet and innocent. And then she broke into some Lil’ Kim song and started rapping verses for us, the filthiest lines I’ve ever heard. We were completely taken aback.”
Paul McCartney – “Dance Tonight” (2007)
Michel Gondry has made music videos for Radiohead, Björk, Beck, The Chemical Brothers and The White Stripes, so when Paul McCartney called him up to create something for his Memory Almost Full track “Dance Tonight,” Gondry definitely had experience with the big guys. Gondry dreamt up a story about a haunted mandolin with the former Beatle.
In the vid, McCartney is visited by a postman (played by Mackenzie Crook), who delivers him the wrong package — a left-handed mandolin. When McCartney plays the mandolin, a ghost appears. That’s Portman. She dances around the house and flutters between other ghosts, until she swoops up the mandolin from McCartney. When she does this, she comes back alive, while McCartney turns into the ghost. Confused yet? Turns out, they all become ghosts together and the postman runs away, never to be found again.
Devendra Banhart – “Carmensita” (2008)
Devendra Banhart poked fun at old-school, low-budget Bollywood in the video for 2008’s “Carmensita,” which features Portman as a captured princess. The video, with its questionable subtitles and weird appropriation of stereotypes, tells the story of how a prince, played by Banhart, wins the princess back from the evil Lord Rajah with his beard. Like we said, it’s weird. Spoiler alert: The prince wins the fight, but the princess decides to morph into an octopus in the end. That always happens!
The clip features dramatic glares and goofy dancing, and it has you wondering about the shenanigans that went down while filming. Well, it turns out that Portman and Banhart fell in love on set and dated for a few months before breaking up later in the year.
In an interview with Pitchfork, Banhart revealed that this clip was one of the only music videos of his that he liked at the time. “Other than ‘Carmensita’ and ‘Little Yellow Spider,’ every video I’ve made has been a complete f—ing mess of incompetence and deception,” he said. “With the ‘Carmensita’ video, I was too busy falling in love with Natalie [Portman] while making it to have any say.”
Paul McCartney – “My Valentine” (2012)
Hey, if you worked well together as a team, might as well collaborate again! McCartney reunited with Portman for his video for “My Valentine,” from his 2012 album Kisses From the Bottom, but this time, they left the quirkiness behind and got serious with sign language. McCartney directed three soft, black-and-white clips for the song — one where Portman signs it, one where Johnny Depp signs it, and a combo clip where they both sign it.
“I wasn’t sure that I wanted to do the big, million-dollar music video thing,” McCartney said at a premiere party for the video, according to Vanity Fair. ”Stella suggested that I do something really simple. ‘You know Natalie,’ she said. ‘Ring Natalie up and just ask her if she will sign to your song.‘ She agreed, and then I realized that I needed [another person] so I asked Johnny and he was kind enough to agree to do it.”
For fun, let’s throw in this performance of “Iko Iko” (made famous by Dr. John) during Portman’s visit to The Tonight Show. Along with Sia and the Roots, Portman helps sing the classic tune while donning Sia’s dual-toned wig, along with varying all-white and all-black attire. Sia does most of the singing, but Portman, with years of music video experience, does a great job bobbing around with wood blocks.
James Blake – “My Willing Heart” (2017)
Portman went back to black-and-white (like “Natalie’s Rap” and “My Valentine”) for the cinematic “My Willing Heart” video, directed by Anna Rose Holmer. The video was shot in Los Angeles days before Portman privately gave birth to her daughter, Amalia, on Feb. 22. It chronicles the beauty of motherhood and the isolation that may come with pregnancy, even if you are never alone. Portman lays in her bed, gently rubbing her belly (at 2:20, you can see the baby readjusting itself in the womb, and it’s wild). She plays with 5-year-old son, Aleph. She swims in dark, mysterious waters, a la Beyoncé. It’s perhaps her most artful music video yet — if you don’t count the World Patrol Kids, of course.