Natalie Portman has blamed the Star Wars prequel trilogy for almost thwarting her acting ambitions.
The Hollywood actress, 33, starred as Luke and Leia Skywalker's ill-fated mother, Queen Padme Amidala, in George Lucas' commercially successful but critically-panned movies.
"Everyone thought I was a horrible actress," she told New Yorker magazine. "I was in the biggest-grossing movie of the decade and no director wanted to work with me."
Of course, Portman went on to win the best actress Oscar for Black Swan in 2011, after late director Mike Nichols revived her career by taking her on for his 2001 stage production of Chekhov's The Seagull.
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"Mike wrote a letter to Anthony Minghella and said, 'Put her in Cold Mountain, I vouch for her'," she said. "Then Anthony passed me on to Tom Tykwer, who passed me on to the Wachowskis [who cast her in V For Vendetta]."
Portman recently played Jane Foster in Marvel's Thor films and will soon be seen starring alongside Christian Bale and Cate Blanchett in Knight of Cups from The Tree of Life director Terence Malick.