Portman to smoke up screen in next role
As a straight-A student at Harvard, Natalie Portman obviously didn’t smoke weed every day, but her newest film will show audiences that she isn’t biased against women having a little fun with their friends and a plant named cannabis.
Portman recently teamed up with screenwriter Jamie Denbo on Best Buds, a film which Portman will star in and produce under her production company Handsomecharlie Films.
The movie follows a group of female friends as they try to prevent Portman’s character from suffering a nervous breakdown the night before her wedding. Instead of focusing on the irrational emotions that have constituted female identities in comedies such as Knocked Up, the girls chill out on a road trip to San Diego by smoking copious amounts of weed.
“I just wished there was a movie where women got to be funny. Not just a group of ragtag funny guys and the hot girl,” Denbo told Jezebel.com in February. “Everyone has a cause. Some people have cancer, some have literacy. Mine is proving that women smoke weed, too.”
Denbo said she wrote the screenplay after seeing a dominating theory of how women interact with weed in Knocked Up, where Katherine Heigl makes Seth Rogen get rid of his bong while she is pregnant.
“It just seemed like a metaphor of, ‘Put down the bong, and we can get married.’ That’s not how it goes in my house. It’s more like, ‘Hey, you’re pregnant, maybe stop smoking weed for five minutes,” said Denbo, a mother of two.
Despite focusing on female smoking habits, Denbo said she also wanted to prove that women could provide humor in movies such as The Hangover.
“I love crazy guy comedy stuff,” Denbo said. “But it would be nice to see some of the other characters that are funny be women. People forget that the biggest scene stealer in Knocked Up was Kristen Wiig.”
Wiig played Heigl’s sarcastic and monotone boss at E! News.
Denbo said she knows that the film might alienate regular comedic audiences since it focuses on women, and generally men are funnier than females. Also, female audience-goers might be offended by the idea that all women are smoking weed. But she says the movie offers more insight into female friendships than is commonly seen in theaters.
“It’s essentially about best friends and girlfriends,” Denbo said. “It’s more about real girl friendship, and not one girl is the ingénue and one girl is her whippersnapper best friend. It’s more equal.”
Portman’s production company also plans to proctor the cannibalistic film version of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, based off of Seth Grahame-Smith’s 2009 modern tease of Jane Austen’s 1813 classic Pride and Prejudice.
Portman will play heroine Elizabeth Bennet, who rebels against society’s manners and values and the occasional mass hordes of flesh-eating zombies.
“The idea of zombies running rampant in 19th century England may sound odd, but it lends a modern sense of urgency to a well-known love story,” co-producer Annette Savitch told The Daily Telegraph in December. “Natalie and I are longtime, passionate fans of Jane Austen’s books, and this is a fresh, fun and thought-provoking way to approach her work.”