Actress Natalie Portman paid tribute to late German-born American film and theater director Mike Nichols, saying that he “saved” her. Nichols passed away unexpectedly Wednesday night at 83.
As a teen, Portman, 33, was directed on stage by Nichols in a production of Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull in 2001. In 2004, eight years before she would win an Oscar for her work in Black Swan, Nichols also directed Portman in the movie Closer which featured Jude Law, Julia Roberts and Clive Owen.
Portman told E! Online, “There’s nothing good enough I can write that would do Mike justice. He was the one who had the best words, the right hug for hard times, the funny comment to diffuse your pain. He saved me again and again. He was the best way to be a person and an artist. And the most, most fun. I send my deepest love to Diane, Jenny, Max, Daisy and their children, who filled his days with light.”
One of Portman’s racier scenes featured in the Nichols-directed Closer:
Nichols never tried to encourage Portman to do any nude scenes in Closer, even though they were called for in the script adaptation and original play. Portman remarked, “well, back to the trust issue: When you trust someone, you”re willing to do everything and make mistakes and really expose yourself inside-out. So we made sort of a pact that before- while we would shoot, we would just do everything. and then he cut it the way he cut, showed it to me to see if I agreed, and that’s what happened. We both kept our parts of the deal.”
The Thor franchise actress added, “there’s nothing good enough I can write that would do Mike justice.”
Portman will appear alongside fellow Stars Wars alum Ewan McGregor in Jane Got a Gun in 2015.