‘Star Wars’ Star Natalie Portman Explains the Surprising Reason No One Recognizes Her From the Prequel Trilogy

Many movie stars have to wear disguises to go out in public. Otherwise, they are mobbed by fans. Imagine how much more exponentially challenging that could be if you’re in a Star Wars movie, one of the most widely seen franchises ever. Natalie Portman, who played Padmé Amidala in the prequel trilogy, says she’s actually escaped it. 

Star Wars star Natalie Portman
Natalie Portman | Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Portman was a guest on Dax Shepard’s Armchair Expert podcast on Dec. 7 to discuss her new book Fable. When Shepard asked about the Star Wars trilogy, he was as surprised as anyone to hear she avoids recognition.

This is how Natalie Portman can escape ‘Star Wars’ fans 

In Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, Amidala was a young queen. She wore elaborate wardrobe and makeup in that, so perhaps would fly under the radar out of costumes. In Episodes II and III she was just Padmé, Annakin (Hayden Christensen)’s secret wife. Still, Portman says she has one asset that keeps her hidden from Star Wars fans.

Natalie Portman Oscars
Natalie Portman | Robyn Beck / AFP via Getty Images

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“Certainly, people recognize me but I think it has to do with I’m really short,” Portman told Shepard. “I’m a small person and I can do pretty much anything and no one pays attention to me. I don’t naturally attract attention. I think if you’re six foot tall and blonde and you walk into a room, everyone looks at you and then they’ll be like, ‘Oh, that’s an actress.’ When you’re this kind of small, brown haired Jeewish girl, you’re kind of invisible.”

Sometimes people aren’t sure it’s really Natalie Portman 

Portman said she usually goes unnoticed in a crowd.

“I feel like no one looks at me,” Portman said. “It’s allowed me to kind of do anything. I feel very lucky. I’ve been to a lot of crowded places and nobody bothers me.”

If they do approach her, it’s often to confirm she actually is Natalie Portman.

“People always say, ‘You look like…’,” Portman said.

‘Star Wars’ isn’t even her most popular role 

Even though the Star Wars franchise is beloved by millions, it’s not the movie Portman hears the most about from fans. If someone does approach her, Portman says it’s usually about The Professional.

“A lot of people definitely love The Professional, so that is by far the thing people talk to me about the most. Which is surprising but I’d say Star Wars is a close second, but The professional really means a lot to people which is very cool. Anything that I feel very close to, like I had anything to do with its success, I get more shy about or uncomfortable taking compliments.”

Natalie Portman
Natalie Portman | Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images

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Portman certainly has plenty of memorable roles to discuss, like Black Swan, Jackie, V for Vendetta, Garden State or many more. However, she likes hearing about her first movie.

“When you’re 12, I didn’t know what the hell I was doing,” Portman said. “I’m so happy you love it. That’s so great. That wasn’t me. THat was a whole other group of people that made that successful and I can feel happy that that makes you happy. I can accept the compliment more easily. It was really fun for me. It was very exciting to get to just mess around while I was 11 and turned 12 while I was shooting.”