In the Professional (1994; originally released in France under the title Léon), Mathilda, played by Natalie Portman, formed an unlikely symbiotic relationship with the professional hit-man Jean Reno. As the story unfolds, Portman's stunning performance proves that she's an actress to be reckoned with. Her '94 debut was immediately followed by minor performances and appearances before Portman once again captured the audience' minds, next to Matt Dillon and Timothy Hutton, in Beautiful Girls (1996). Her career was a one-way ticket to success, as she continued to distinguish herself in various films, including Michael Mann's Heat (1995) and Woody Allen's Everyone Says I Love You (1996), and Tim Burton's Mars Attacks! (1996).

Portman has through many years been recognized for her "mature" performances, and has for that and many others reasons become one of cinema's most promising performers. Yet despite her image as a serious young thespian, Portman, who was born in Jerusalem but raised in New York City, is still somewhat a typical teenager who hangs out with her friends, watches Dawson's Creek, listens to Portishead while she does her homework, ponders college, and harbors a fervent passion for fashion (of which she quotes, "It is an art, but people mistake it for materialism").

When Portman was nine, the family settled in Long Island (after having spent years in Israel, Maryland, and Connecticut while her father received advanced training as a doctor) where she has lived as a suburban kid ever since, attending the local high school (even during the major theatrical coming-of-age, her run as Anne Frank) and escaping to the city on weekends ("where I live is a classic suburb - a nice place to grow up but there's nothing to do, which causes a huge problem for young people"). She loves to dance, particularly at giddy, velvet-rope nightspots such as Life.

With her interest in fashion, Portman is well-suited to play the exotic Queen Amidala in the beginning of a legend, Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. In the year of 1995, she met George Lucas in his Marin County home. Approaching the eight year commitment was to Portman not an easy task, as she was unsure at the time whether she wanted to pursue her acting career or not.

Aware of the potential loss of privacy by starring in a film series that has provoked such devotion among fans worldwide, she signed up for the role as the young queen and future mother of Luke and Leia. "I still can't prepare myself. I don't know what's to come. But what's happened so far has been wonderful, to see people so passionate," she says to British Empire Magazine...

In 1999, Anywhere But Here, directed by Wayne Wang, was released all over the American continent. Starring Natalie Portman alongside with Susan Sarandon, this movie takes us on a journey to Beverly Hills, in which both actors, mother and daughter, search for success. The following year, 2000, we got to see Natalie Portman as Novalee Nation in the heart-warming and charming comedy/drama Where The Heart Is.

In the summer of 2001, Natalie starred as Nina in Anton Chekhov's The Seagull. The Central Park play also featured stars such as Kevin Kline, Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Christopher Walken.

Natalie Portman is currently attending college and has chosen psychology as her major. Still, she manages to combine both acting and school by doing films in the summers.

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