Natalie Portman shot to instant stardom before she was even a teenager. Her singular performance in Luc Besson's Léon was passionate and multi-layered, probably beyond her own comprehension, and it put enourmous pressure on her young shoulders.
After Léon, however, Portman chose roles with the greatest of care. Worried that she'd be typecast as a kittensque symbol, Portman declined the lead in Adrian Lyne's Lolita, but still gave one of her best peformances in a similar role opposite Timothy Hutton in Beautiful Girls. Insignificant parts in Woody Allen's Everyone Says I Love You and Tim Burton's Mars Attacks! followed before she gave a lacklustre performance in George Lucas' ostensible rejuvenation of Star Wars.
Portman's transition to full-fledged grown-up roles was gradual, but she rarely accepted work in order to increase her bankability or popularity. Her dramatic potential is almost without limits, something she demonstrated with her Academy Award winning work in Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan in 2010.
Léon (Jean Reno): And stop saying "okay" all the time. Okay?
Mathilda (Portman): Leon, I think I'm falling in love with you. It's the first time for me, you know?
Mathilda (Portman): I don't give a shit about sleeping, Leon. I want love, or death. That's it.
Mathilda (Portman): I don't wanna lose you, Leon."
Marty (Portman): I might just grow to be five-ten. I'll be hot
Marty (Portman): If I'm not mistaken, you've come back here to the house of loneliness and tears, to Daddy Downer and Brother Bummer, to come to some sort of decision about life, a life decision if you will.
Marty (Portman): Alas, poor Romeo, we can't do diddly.
Paul (Michael Rapaport): So you're the little neighborhood Lolita.