All the really happy, successful relationships that I know of, the people that are together are friends anyway
Q: Natalie, you had over a year of rigorous training for “Black Swan.” How did you make such a quick turnaround for this movie? Natalie Portman: You’re like, how did you get fat so quickly? [laughs] It was pretty great. It was like a palate cleanser after all of that really disciplined, focused, serious kind of set to a really playful, fun… I mean, obviously everyone is still professional on this kind of movie, but there is an improvisational feel all the time, senior match username and everyone is there to play. It was a really great atmosphere. And I didn’t have to work out because I was like, she’s a doctor so they don’t have time. [laughs]
Q: You were a producer on this movie. How did you balance your roles as a producer and an actor? Portman: Well, it was a really exciting process to get to be involved for the first time so early, working with Liz and Ivan. I came on a couple years before the project to get to sort of watch their process and get to talk to them about the script. They were definitely controlling that process, but it was fun to be included in the sort of evolution of the script and seeing how it changed and why it changed, and to have Ivan’s expertise in pacing and figuring out, oh, at the end there needs to be more movement, because in the original script that Liz wrote, it was sort of a contained scene at the end. And he was like, no, we have to get them moving on the road. And to learn those things in the process was really exciting.
Q: Ashton and Natalie, do you think friendship can survive sex without feelings? Ashton Kutcher: I wouldn’t know. [laughter from Portman] I haven’t been fortunate enough to try one of those relationships out. [laughs] You know, I really think whoever you’re with ultimately needs to be your friend. And so, if you’re friends, you’re going to have feelings of some sort. Some layer or some level of a deeper feeling. So I don’t know that it’s completely possible.
Q: Ashton, this is Natalie’s first rom-com. So did you help her or did you just tease her mercilessly? How did that work? Kutcher: How did that work? No, I learned more from Natalie in like one day on set than I could ever possibly teach her in a billion years. She may not have done a rom-com before, but she’s done so much work on so many different levels… I even watched “Garden State” or something like that, and that is comedic in and of itself, but it’s a true, organic performance, and I don’t know that there is anything I can really teach her. Portman: Well, that’s really sweet, but you did all the time…
Q: But did he tease you? Portman: Tease me? Well, he teased me all the time. He’s always like, “Are you wearing flats again?” [laughter] “Really?” Kutcher: It was mostly height jokes. And she would get very upset with me. She looks like my child. I asked her if she could reach the pedals in the car one day. That didn’t go over very well. [laughs]
And I don’t know that sex always has to have feelings, but I think friendship always does
Q: Natalie, did you create any backstory for this character to find out how she got to this point? Portman: Absolutely, but a lot of it was provided to me in Liz’s script, which was really wonderful, about having this incredible loss early on, and wanting to be this sort of pillar for her family and not wanting to get hurt. And also I had… I think most women know someone like this if they’re not like this themselves. They know what happens that leads you to a point where you’re not even looking for intimacy anymore. You’re just looking for the physical side of it, without the emotional side. Something breaks a little bit before you get to that point. It’s not just a way that you’re born.