Natalie Portman has revealed when she was a child actor she just wanted to please directors and win approval.
The 29-year-old actress, who began her career in Luc Besson’s Leon aged just 13, now looks for fulfilment in her acting roles.
Natalie explained: “I started as a child actor and you just want to try and make everyone happy.
“It’s almost like that sort of pageant thing where you see the little kids do their dance or whatever and then they look right away to their mum like ‘How did I do?’ And that’s sort of how you feel as a child actor like you’re always looking for approval.
“To get to that point where you’re really trying to make yourself happy and fulfil yourself through performance is a whole new experience.
“That’s what I gained in my late twenties and it gave me a perspective.”
Natalie stars in the award-winning Black Swan as ambitious New York ballet dancer Nina Sayer, who lives with her pushy former dancer mum, and strives to play both the White and Black Swan in a new performance of Swan Lake.
The film, from The Wrestler director Darren Aronofsky, took eight years to get off the ground, and while she admits it would have been easier on her body to play the part when she was younger, Natalie feels she needed that perspective of age to play the part.
But she added: “It also made the earlier parts of the film, where Nina’s insecure, naive and trying to please everyone, all the more difficult, because it felt like a regression of sorts.”