By Emma Dooney published
Natalie Portman has called Mike Nichols a ‘genuine feminist’ after working with the late director on two occasions.
The Thor: Love and Thunder actress commended her former mentor in the recently published biography, Mike Nichols: a Life, for his consistent professionalism on-set.
Speaking with author Mark Harris, Natalie refers to the multi-award-winning director as “the only older man who mentored me without there ever being a creepy element in it."
Natalie first met Nichols at the age of 19, when she was cast in his 2001 theatre production of the Seagull alongside Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman. The up-and-coming actress was nervous about working with the Hollywood heavyweights at the time but was quickly put at ease by the esteemed director.
“There was nothing, nothing, nothing there except him seeing you as a creative, interesting, talented human,” Natalie said.
Unlike many of his contemporaries, Mike did not use his authority to exploit younger actresses. Instead, he's respectfully treated his female co-workers as human beings first and foremost, valuing their skills rather than viewing them as sexual objects.
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“It is the rarest, finest quality, and not many directors of his generation had it,” Natalie continued.
The Oscar-winning actress worked with Nichols for the second time in the popular 2004 film Closer.
Natalie recalls he maintained a respectful attitude throughout production, but especially during the shooting of her character’s strip scene.
“He wants to see my bare ass [even] less than my father would,” the Israeli-American actress told Mark.
The book went on to detail Nichols’ commitment to ensuring Natalie felt comfortable in the intimate scene. The veteran director openly communicated with her during filming, reducing nudity, adjusting the angles, and guiding her through the process.
Sadly, Nichols passed away at the age of 82 from a heart attack in 2014, but his legacy prevails in his impressive body of work, as well as in the words of his surviving friends and colleagues.
Emma is a news writer for woman&home and My Imperfect Life. She covers the Royal Family and the entertainment world, as well as the occasional health or lifestyle story. When she's not reporting on the British monarchy and A-list celebs, you can find her whipping up vegan treats and running the roads to cheesy '90s pop music...but not at the same time, obviously.
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