Natalie Portman Says Kids Don’t Know Movie Stars Anymore, but There’s ‘Liberation in Having Your Art Not Be a Popular Art’

Natalie Portman is the latest actor to speak about the decline of the movie star. In an interview with Vanity Fair, the “Black Swan” Oscar winner noted that kids these days like her own have no idea who movie stars are but are widely familiar with popular YouTubers.

“The striking thing has been the decline of film as a primary form of entertainment,” Portman said. “It feels much more niche now. If you ask someone my kids’ age about movie stars, they don’t know anyone compared to YouTube stars, or whatever.”

And how does that feel? “There’s a liberation to it, in having your art not be a popular art,” she answered. “You can really explore what’s interesting to you. It becomes much more about passion than about commerce. And interesting, too, to beware of it becoming something elitist. I think all of these art forms, when they become less popularized, you have to start being like, okay, who are we making this for anymore?”

“There’s also been this democratization of creativity, where gatekeepers have been demoted and everyone can make things and incredible talents come up,” Portman continued. “And the accessibility is incredible. If you lived in a small town, you might not have been able to access great art cinema when I was growing up. Now it feels like if you’ve got an internet connection, you can get access to anything. It’s pretty wild that you also feel like at the same time, more people than ever might see your weird art film because of his extraordinary access. So it’s this two-sided coin.”

Ana de Armas told Vanity Fair herself last year that the movie star was a faded concept.

“I feel like the new generations don’t have that concept, because of social media,” de Armas said. “There is so much information out there and oversharing. The concept of a movie star is someone untouchable you only see onscreen. That mystery is gone. For the most part, we’ve done that to ourselves — nobody’s keeping anything from anyone anymore.”

Around the same time, “Bridgerton” alum Regé-Jean Page said the debate about whether or not movie stars still existed didn’t matter.

“To cry about that particular tragedy, it’s like, ‘Okay, but are there good movies?’” Page said in Vanity Fair’s 2023 Hollywood Issue. “I’m not sure that I was ever in love with going to a movie to see the actor. I go to the movies to see the movie. It’s like crying that there are no rock star sound designers anymore. This one department isn’t getting this outsized amount of attention that they got used to for a while? Cry me a river, man.”

Head over to Vanity Fair’s website to read Portman’s latest interview in its entirety.

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