Natalie Portman Says Women Are ‘Expected To Behave’ Differently Than Men At Cannes And In Life

Natalie Portman
Mohammed Badra/Pool/Getty Images

Actress Natalie Portman said there’s a discrepancy between how women are expected to act versus men.

The 41-year-old made the comments while promoting her new film “May December” at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival.

“The whole film is so much about performance and the different roles we play in different environments, for different people, for ourselves, even,” Portman said, explaining how this concept of societal norms segregated by gender is “something I’m definitely curious about and interested in.”

“This aspect of, even here — the different ways we as women are expected to behave at this festival even compared to men,” she told reporters at the press conference. “How we’re supposed to look, how we’re supposed to carry ourselves.”

“The expectations are different on you all the time and it affects how you behave, whether you’re buying into it, whether you’re rejecting it, or whether you’re doing something in between,” Portman said. “You’re definitely defined by the social structures upon you.”

“May December” is about a couple (Julianne Moore and Charles Melton) getting ready for their children to graduate from high school and go to college, according to Variety.

Portman plays a young actress who is cast to play Moore’s character in the film version of their lives. She goes to their home to study who they really are, which causes turmoil as she digs into their private sphere. “May December” is directed by Todd Haynes (Carol) and written by co-screenwriters Samy Burch and Alex Mechanik. Portman and Will Ferrell are the producers of the project.

“An age gap is one thing, but a relationship between an adult and a child is something else entirely,” Moore said during the panel discussion about her character. “Her transgression, I believe, personally, is so enormous that she sort of buries it in her own identity, in her own performative femininity.”


Portman has starred in a wide range of projects over the course of her career. She told GQ in May that she’s willing to return to the “Star Wars” franchise if asked. “I have no information on this. No one’s ever asked me to return, but I’m open to it,” Portman said of joining any sequels or spinoffs.

The actress portrayed Padme Amidala in the three “Star Wars” movies directed by George Lucas in the late 1990s and 2000s.

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