Natalie Portman: Lauren Bacall Didn’t Like Me and ‘Called Me Out’

Natalie Portman Lauren Bacall
Natalie Portman and Lauren Bacall Daniel Zuchnik/; Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Who wouldn’t be impressed by Oscar winner Natalie Portman? The Harvard alum recently revealed that Lauren Bacall was not a fan of hers when the Black Swan actress directed the legendary film star in the 2008 short film Eve.

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“I must be honest: She did not like me, but I loved her and admired her so much,” Portman said on Thursday, August 18, of Bacall at a panel discussion for A Tale of Love and Darkness, her full-length directorial debut, in which she also stars. “She sensed in me what I learned later about myself … that I had a really hard time saying what I wanted and being the boss.”

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Portman's period piece, told in subtitled Hebrew, follows a Jewish family who immigrates to Palestine in the 1940s. It was a passion project for the Oscar winner, and it was a film that she said helped her to become more decisive.

“It took me a few weeks to be comfortable saying ‘I want this,’ ‘I want that,’” said Portman, who was reflecting on her work in a Q&A with the 92nd Street Y’s Annette Insdorf in NYC.

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“When I was 26 on Eve with [Lauren Bacall] I was not decisive, and she called me out on it and was totally right,” Portman said of the short film about an elderly couple going on a date. “But she was a total pro, despite the fact that she was so unimpressed by me. She was amazing in every take.”

A Tale of Love and Darkness, based on the best-selling 2002 memoir by Amos Oz, is in select theaters now. 

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