“Jackie” might depict a political moment from decades past, but its arrival in theaters in the midst of the current American presidential election all but guarantees some political — and scandalous — crossover.
The film’s screenwriter, Noah Oppenheim, was first on the carpet at Thursday’s New York Film Festival premiere, and he shimmied his way past the hot mics awaiting in the press line: he doubles as a producer on the “Today” show, which drew jeers from cameramen about the Billy Bush scandal.
“Jackie” is the first English-language film for Chilean director Pablo Larraín, and casts Natalie Portman in the storied role. Portman and her costar Peter Sarsgaard too made a beeline past reporters, in presidential, political fashion.
“It’s a really big challenge to portray an iconic, historical figure,” the film’s producer Darren Aronofsky said of Portman’s take on the famed First Lady. Aronofsky previously directed Portman to her Oscar win in “Black Swan” in 2010.
“I guess they all live and die on if you forget you’re looking at the actor,” he continued of Portman’s success in the role. “That’s what I was most nervous about. But what really blew me away was when I saw the film, like after the first five, 10 minutes, you kind of forget you’re watching Natalie. And that’s an impressive accomplishment. I don’t know how she does her magic.”
Portman is certainly not the first to inhabit the First Lady; Jeanne Tripplehorn, Jill Hennessy, Minka Kelly, Ginnifer Goodwin and Katie Holmes have all starred as her in both film and television — and hype around this film promises interest around Jackie isn’t dwindling.
“It was an extraordinary moment in history,” Aronofsky said of Jackie’s influence. “There is a lot to think about because Jackie, before the assassination, was kind of known for the White House tour, and for being the ultimate Fifties housewife in some ways, when she was the First Lady. And then this incredible event happened and the world looked to this one person to help them mourn. And she rose to the occasion.”