Why Natalie Portman's Dad Wasn't Impressed With Star Wars

The Star Wars prequels were, to put it mildly, not well received by fans or critics (from Vox). Marcia Lucas, former wife of the prequel's director George Lucas, even cried after she saw a preview of "Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace," saying "I cried because I didn't think it was very good. And I thought [Lucas] had such a rich vein to mine, a rich palette to tell stories with. He had all those characters" (via IndieWire). And she wasn't the only one who didn't like the films.

Dealing with the fallout of both poor critical and audience reviews was a challenge for one of the prequel's stars: Natalie Portman. Portman was 16 when filming started for the prequels, and it was a challenge for her to deal with the backlash the movies got. "It was a bummer because it felt like people were so excited about new ones and then to have people feel disappointed," she told Empire. "Also to be at an age that I didn't really understand that's kind of the nature of the beast. When something has that much anticipation it can almost only disappoint."

Portman played Padme Amidala, the queen turned Senator of Naboo who, among other things over the course of the three prequel films, falls in love with and marries Anakin Skywalker, played by Jake Lloyd in "Episode I" and Hayden Christensen in "Episode II" and "Episode III" (from Star Wars).

Natalie Portman came from a very academic-minded family

And it seems like another non-fan of the prequels was none other than Natalie Portman's father. Though not perhaps for the same reasons as others. Portman had been acting since the age of 11, but she didn't come from an acting family by any means but rather an academic one. On the podcast "Armchair Expert with Dax Shepherd" she said, "My dad's a doctor. My grandfather had four PhDs and was a professor. And it was kind of embarrassing to be an actress. Like, my dad took me aside when I was like 22, I'd already done all the Star Wars, and was like, so what about grad school?" He thought she'd be better off with more traditionally serious work like law school or grad school; she told Variety that he told her, "I think you'll be more fulfilled if you have something more — like a life of the mind."

The Oscar winner did graduate from Harvard with an undergraduate degree in psychology in 2003, and she has taken graduate-level classes at Hebrew University of Jerusalem (from The Guardian). But she's never given up on acting or directing. While at Harvard, Portman told Shepherd she thought she might change careers, but while she was there, she realized the value of her work as an actor "It kind of was the moment where I had to come to terms with [acting] is what I love."