Natalie Portman says The Professional now seems “disgusting.”
Natalie Portman looks back on her debut film, Léon: The Professional, with a raised eyebrow.
The actor admitted to having mixed feelings about the 1994 action thriller, which centers on an uncomfortably intimate, almost romantic relationship between a grown man and a teenage girl.
“It’s a movie that’s still popular, and people approach me more than almost anything I’ve ever done,” she said The Hollywood Reporter In a question-and-answer session published Wednesday, he added, “It gave me my career.”
But Portman said the dynamic between the characters hasn’t aged well.
“If you look at it now, it definitely has some spooky aspects to say the least,” she said. “So yeah, it’s complicated for me.”
Luc Besson’s “Leon” tried to push the envelope with the sordid tale of an assassin and a 12-year-old orphan, played by Portman. Between drastic killing sprees, Portman’s teenage character tries to seduce Leon, played by French actor Jean Reno. She eventually becomes his protégé.
Even at the time of its publication questioned by critics the rationale for the plot, with Roger Ebert accusing “Leon” of “exploitation”.[ing] the girl’s youth without really considering it” in a 1994 review.
The film’s legacy was further tarnished Allegations of sexual abuse against Besson by several women.
Portman told THR the allegations were “devastating” for her, but added that she was not aware of any wrongdoing while working with him as a child actress.
“I really didn’t know,” she told the publication. “I worked as a child. I was a child. But I don’t want to say anything that would invalidate anyone’s experience.”
Portman previously described the harassment she faced after her big break in Leon: The Professional, citing the deluge of unwanted attention “Sexual Terrorism” during a speech at the 2018 Los Angeles Women’s March.