Natalie Portman played Queen of England in The Other Boleyn Girl and tried to overthrow the British government in V for Vendetta. Some of her most beloved characters are British, but can the same be said about the actress herself?
Natalie Portman isn’t British. The Oscar-winning actress was born in Jerusalem to Jewish parents and holds dual Israeli and American citizenship.
Stick around to learn more about Portman’s projects set in the UK, and why so many people think she’s British.
Natalie Portman’s British Projects
In 2005, Natalie Portman scored the lead role in the cult film V for Vendetta alongside Hugo Weaving. Most people remember it as the perfect portrayal of starting a revolution against injustice, but some viewers simply couldn’t get over Portman’s fake British accent.
ShortList, Time, and BBC America included her on their lists of American actors with the worst British accent. According to Time, she stayed in character and talked with the British accent throughout the production, and everyone from her cast members to her mom found it annoying.
Some viewers also struggled with Portman’s accent in Star Wars prequels, but let it slide because they were set in a galaxy far, far away. V for Vendetta, however, had a well-defined location, and her accent made it difficult to pinpoint where her character’s really from.
This aspect of the film certainly needed some getting used to, but most people didn’t mind it that much. V for Vendetta was set in in a futuristic London, after all, and that made her accent a little less awkward.
Portman was required to polish her accent three years later when she was cast as one of the most polarizing royals in British history. She won the role of Anne Boleyn in The Other Boleyn Girl, also starring Scarlett Johansson and Eric Bana.
The Oscar-winning star started working on her accent a month before shooting. The dialect coach Jill McCulloch guided her through this process and stayed on throughout the filming.
“We were lucky enough to have a great dialect coach who really guided us through. I actually think that doing a more posh accent is easier because it’s sort of an exaggeration of what we think of as British. I think it’s clearer in my head than doing a modern, urban dialect,” Portman told Indie London.
Having two Americans play Anne and Mary Boleyn was an odd choice, but that wasn’t even the biggest issue that viewers had with this project. Portman’s accent was the last thing on their mind since they were too bothered by the film’s historical inaccuracies.
Natalie Portman’s British Doppelgänger
If you still aren’t convinced that Natalie Portman isn’t British, it’s probably because you’ve mixed her up with another famous actress – the Pirates of the Caribbean star Keira Knightley.
Two actresses have been compared to each other for years due to their striking resemblance. Knightley acknowledged that she looks like Portman and joked about it during several talk show appearances.
She told James Corden that people chased her through airports on multiple occasions, thinking that she’s Natalie Portman. She’s also been mistaken for other famous stars, including Kate Winslet, Rachel Weisz – and even Britney Spears, for some reason.
Comparisons to Portman have followed her since the very beginning of her career since she scored one of her first roles in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. She played Padmé’s handmaiden Sabé, who served as the queen’s decoy double.
The Love Actually star landed this role thanks to her incredible resemblance to Portman, and they looked even more alike with their makeup and costume on. It’s been reported that Knightley’s own mother had trouble telling them apart when she visited the set.
Both actresses managed to build successful careers, but Knightley’s filmography includes many period dramas where she has a very strong British accent. That’s another possible reason why people think that Natalie Portman is British – they’re simply mistaking her for her famous look-alike.