Star Wars Nearly Ruined Natalie Portman

Being a part of a major franchise is not always a good thing, in fact it can almost become a career killer for some.

In a new feature piece for New York Magazine, actress Natalie Portman spoke about the late film director Mike Nichols whom she worked with on “Closer” and received rave reviews for her performance. However, she claims that at the time no-one wanted to hire her because of a certain franchise she was involved with:

“Star Wars had come out … and everyone thought I was a horrible actress. I was in the biggest-grossing movie of the decade, and no director wanted to work with me. Mike wrote a letter to Anthony Minghella and said, ‘Put her in Cold Mountain, I vouch for her.’ And then Anthony passed me on to Tom Tykwer, who passed me on to the Wachowskis.”

After the prequel trilogy ended, Portman ended up drawing raves for her role in “V for Vendetta” and did a few solid films before her Oscar-winning performance in “Black Swan” and her more well-regarded blockbuster turn in the “Thor” franchise.

In other “Star Wars” news, the cast line-up has been revealed for Jason Reitman’s upcoming live-read series at LACMA in which he chooses a new cast to read a classic script live on stage for a one-time only performance.

EW reports that one of the films chosen this year is “The Empire Strikes Back” and the actors for the key roles are highly impressive: Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul is Luke Skywalker, likely Oscar nominee for “Whiplash” J.K. Simmons is Darth Vader, British comedian Stephen Merchant is C-3P0, former “24” president Dennis Haysbert is Lando Calrissian, and “Usual Suspects” actor and comedian Kevin Pollack is Yoda.

No word on who’ll play Han Solo and Princess Leia just yet.