Natalie Portman on ‘Wild’ Discovery Researching Family Tree (Exclusive)

Natalie Portman made a “wild” family discovery while working on her new noir thriller Lady in the Lake.

Speaking exclusively to PEOPLE at the premiere of the Apple TV+ limited series on Wednesday, July 10, the actress, 43, shared how she was able to explore her grandmother and great-grandmother’s history during the shoot in Baltimore after working on a family tree for her mom Shelley.

“I don’t like to compare myself to my characters. I always try to explore something different from what I am in my real life,” Portman tells PEOPLE of her role as Maddie Schwartz. “But something that was really different for this was that my grandmother was in her 40s during the 1960s, and she was originally from Baltimore — where this is set — in the Jewish community.”

“I really got to explore what her life might have been like, what challenges she might have faced, what feelings she might have been frustrated by. And so that was really amazing to imagine.”

Portman then went on to share how she also made a surprising discovery about some of her family members.

Natalie Portman at the preview screening of her Apple TV+ series “Lady In The Lake”.

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty


“I was actually doing a family tree for my mom’s birthday at the same time, and it was so wild to discover the immigration papers of my great-grandparents coming from Eastern Europe to Baltimore, to find census records that were where they lived in Baltimore and then be walking those streets,” she tells PEOPLE at the premiere, which was held at the Paley Museum in New York City.

“There’s a Jewish deli there that’s been open for like 100 years — walking in and thinking my great-grandmother walked in here. I never really had that connection to place because my family was in a different city every generation, often different country every generation, so it was really wild to feel that for the first time,” she continues.

Natalie Portman with her mom Shelley on January 14, 2011.

Gregg DeGuire/FilmMagic


Lady in the Lake, a TV adaptation of Laura Lippman’s 2019 novel of the same name, stars Portman as Maddie Schwartz, a Jewish housewife who leaves her husband in pursuit of a career in investigative journalism. She becomes obsessed with the death of Cleo Johnson, played by Queen’s Gambit star Moses Ingram, after moving to a largely Black neighborhood where she can afford to live without her husband — and the subsequent unraveling mystery pulls at broader questions of race and class in 1960s Baltimore.

The PEOPLE Puzzler crossword is here! How quickly can you solve it? Play now!

Natalie Portman in ‘Lady in the Lake’.

Apple TV+


In June, Portman told PEOPLE that it was particularly interesting for her to explore “how someone who’s oppressed can also be an oppressor” through the series. 

“Maddie gets blind to the effects of actions on others because she is so consumed by her personal journey,” the Black Swan star also told Vanity Fair about the role.

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE’s free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer​​, from celebrity news to compelling human interest stories. 

The film is produced by MountainA, a production company co-founded by Portman and Sophie Mas, which had its first hit last year with May December, scoring Portman a Golden Globe nomination for her acting in the film. Portman and Mas both serve as executive producers on Lady in the Lake.

The first two episodes of Lady in the Lake will premiere on AppleTV+ on July 19.

Economic Survey 2024 before Budget know important points to note about it

Economic Survey 2024 before Budget know important points to note about it

Economic Survey 2024: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is going to present the first budget of the third term of the ...
Coldplay Dedicates ‘Everglow’ to Taylor Swift at Germany Concert

Coldplay Dedicates ‘Everglow’ to Taylor Swift at Germany Concert

Coldplay is feelng for the Swifties in Germany! While performing in concert in Düsseldorf, Germany, on Saturday, July 20, Coldplay's ...
India women beat UAE by 78 runs Women's Asia Cup T20 2024 Harmanpreet Kaur Deepti Sharma

India women beat UAE by 78 runs Women's Asia Cup T20 2024 Harmanpreet Kaur Deepti Sharma

Women's Asia Cup T20 2024: India won the second consecutive match in the Women's Asia Cup T20 2024. Team India ...
Google Maps vs ola maps comparison how both are different from each other update features data source know details here

Google Maps vs ola maps comparison how both are different from each other update features data source know details here

Google Maps Vs Ola Maps: Ola Electric has recently severed its ties with Google Maps. The company has started its ...
How to Delete and block your UPI ID After your phone stolen follow the all steps here

How to Delete and block your UPI ID After your phone stolen follow the all steps here

How to Block UPI ID: Ever since UPI has come, almost everyone does more online transactions than offline transactions. The ...
Hardik Pandya's bowling fitness test in Vijay Hazare Trophy to be monitored ahead of Champions Trophy 2025

Hardik Pandya's bowling fitness test in Vijay Hazare Trophy to be monitored ahead of Champions Trophy 2025

Hardik Pandya Champions Trophy 2025: Hardik Pandya is troubled due to personal issues. Team India has given him a chance ...
Tushar Deshpande wishes MS Dhoni and his father on Guru Purnima 2024

Tushar Deshpande wishes MS Dhoni and his father on Guru Purnima 2024

Tushar Deshpande wishes MS Dhoni on Guru Purnima: Chennai Super Kings bowler Tushar Deshpande recently made his debut in international ...
Commerce Top Colleges In India See List of top commerce colleges of india admission ranking fees placements

Commerce Top Colleges In India See List of top commerce colleges of india admission ranking fees placements

Best Commerce Colleges Of India: There are many colleges in the country to study commerce. Some are government and some ...
Food Lifestyle Marathi News National Junk Food Day 2024 Friendship with junk food can cause many diseases Many diseases can happen

Food Lifestyle Marathi News National Junk Food Day 2024 Friendship with junk food can cause many diseases Many diseases can happen

Junk food is not good for our health at all, it increases the risk of many serious diseases like high ...
india women score 201 against uae richa ghosh harmanpreet kaur half century women asia cup t20 2024

india women score 201 against uae richa ghosh harmanpreet kaur half century women asia cup t20 2024

Women's Asia Cup 2024: The Indian women's team has given the UAE a target of 202 runs to win the ...

Leave a Comment