Natalie Portman on Becoming Jackie and Capturing the "Most Awful of Emotions" in That Historical Scene 

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Toronto International Film Festival

Natalie Portman isn't the first actress to play the important and difficult part of former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, but she might be remembered as one of the best. Her effortless grace and natural beauty shine through in her newest role, which she prepared for immensely before going behind the camera as Jackie.

The Oscar-winning actress sat down with us at the People / EW / InStyle Portrait Studio at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival to discuss her Jackie transformation and the filming process. It didn't come as a huge shock when she said the "most difficult scene [to film] was the assassination scene," but not for all the reasons one might think.

"To try and capture that most awful of emotions and the suddenness of that emotion [was difficult]," said Portman. Plus, the scene itself was "quite a technical shoot," she revealed. "We were recreating shots that really existed."

And how did she prepare to recreate those devastating emotions? "In the film, a lot of it is helped by the fact that all of us have that trauma somewhere inside us," she mused. "Whether we lived through it or we heard the story, each of us has heard our parents or grandparents tell where they were [when Kennedy was shot] and what that was like."

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Portman even looked the part of Onassis when she sat down with us, wearing a black, double-breasted coat-style dress, with her hair neatly blown out.

Watch the video above for more on Portman's transformation, including how she played "detective" to tap into the former First Lady's inner thoughts and emotions, and stay tuned for more exclusive TIFF 2016 coverage from our portrait studio.

SHOW TRANSCRIPT

I think the emotion itself, of the scene, is so unimaginable. I think the most difficult scene was definitely the assassination scene. To try and capture that most awful of emotions and the suddenness of that emotion in the midst of quite a technical shoot, because we were recreating shots that really existed, and I think in the film, a lot of it is helped by the fact that all of us have that trauma somewhere inside us, whether we lived through it or we heard It's the story each of us has heard our parents or grandparents tell, where they were, and what that was like. I think all of those aspects definitely help the, of course, the physical appearance of the character. The clothes, the hair and makeup, the details of how she spoke, and learning the accent and the rhythms and the voice. And then of course the most crucial aspect being sort of the emotional, spiritual aspect. Which is largely feeling things that are beneath the text that are available. You You know, there's many books, there's many interviews, and she edited her interviews. I think that was most helpful because there's big sections that are deleted, and it says this portion has been deleted by Jackie. And it gives you a little imagination where you can kind of fill in these blanks, and it's A little bit of a detective story to see what she didn't want out there. Imagining what she wouldn't want out there.
 
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