Casting From The Heart

It’s strange to think that there was a time when Natalie was struggling to get any work. After Star Wars Episode 2 landed, she spoke about how everyone thought she was a bad actress and even getting directors to meet with her was proving difficult. Natalie talks about Cold Mountain as the turning point and it was Mike Nichols (who had directed Natalie in The Seagull) who wrote to Anthony Minghella and basically vouched for Natalie’s ability.

It was a great performance and her career was back on track, cemented by Garden State and then her Golden Globe winning turn in Closer, which Mike Nichols directed himself. During her acceptance speech she sweetly and awkwardly expressed how much Mike meant to her.

That’s a long intro but the setup is for a new piece by The Hollywood Reporter about Mike Nichols. It has some new quotes from Natalie and about Natalie, and you can read them after the jump.

First up, Natalie…

“He has an eye and an ear and a heart for the truth,” says Natalie Portman, one of Nichols’ favorites whom he directed in Closer (2004) and The Seagull. “He’ll tell you something that suddenly seems obvious but that you’d never have come up with yourself, which is probably the definition of genius.”

And Mike…

The comedies were very successful, but I’ve had failures, too, and you learn more from failure than success. I f–ed up Death and the Maiden. I was horrified by the author, Ariel Dorfman; there was something off-putting about him. He was the kind of communist who would say, “Where the f– is my limo?” And I also f–ed up The Country Girl. I cast actors whom I admired, but that’s not good enough; there has to be something more intimate. I have to be in love with them — like Julia Roberts or Meryl Streep or Natalie Portman.