Filmmaking / Directing : NTY Magazine profile of Natalie Portman novelist Jonathan Safran Foer--Shameful by Jeff Lyons

Jeff Lyons

NTY Magazine profile of Natalie Portman novelist Jonathan Safran Foer--Shameful

He gets a byline she gets a Calvin Klein underwear shoot. Outrageous. What was NYT thinking? This went through some editor's before pub... they knew what they were doing. Shame. http://bit.ly/2a5TXFx

Where are Natalie Portman's pants in the New York Times story about her directorial debut?
Where are Natalie Portman's pants in the New York Times story about her directorial debut?
The New York Times' T Magazine has just published a sort-of profile of Natalie Portman, tied to the Oscar-winning actress and deserving Harvard graduate's directorial debut. It's framed as an email ex…
Dan MaxXx

pants are overrated, especially in Summer heat

Beth Fox Heisinger

This is shameful! Ridiculous! Indeed, what were they thinking?! ...Yet another brilliant and talented woman reduced to a sex object. Did Ms. Portman even know these images were taken for this particular article?! Or were these images "borrowed" from some other photo shoot taken within a different context? Regardless, this is just plain DUMB! Gee, where's Foer's alluring picture of him poising in only a sweater and underwear. I mean, fair is fair. Lol!

Jeff Lyons

Beth... yep.

Doug Nelson

Not to start a controversy (well, maybe a little controversy), but let me ask a question: Do you think that because Natalie is a bountiful woman that she can’t have a beautiful intellect also? She may be fortunate enough to have both. Is the opposite true; that only unattractive women can be smart? She poised for those photos of her own free will. Hey if posing in my underwear would have boosted my career – sure I would’ve done it. I wish her all the best in her career.

Al Hibbert

At least she wears underwear!

Jeff Lyons

Doug--Yeah... someone else pointed out that she probably agreed to the pictures before publication and went into this eyes-wide-open, to promote her clothing line (I guess prices appear on the captions of pix). Soooo... obviously (if true) she had no conflict with mixed messages, etc. NYT and Portman are big boys and girls and it looks like they all went into this agreeably... so controversy over I guess. I would only question her strategic thinking on when it is or is not appropriate to sell her clothes :) But, hey... if I had a clothing line worth millions, who knows what I'd be willing to do?

Beth Fox Heisinger

Doug... sorry, but good grief. Lol! And (typically) pictures chosen for publication are selected or "finalized" by the editor. Sorry, I find it hard to believe that Ms. Portman would need THIS particular article to sell clothing...

Jeff Lyons

Beth... yeah... I know. Mixed messages to be sure and not really appropriate in any case. My uninformed opinion. :)

Beth Fox Heisinger

I haven't had a chance yet to read this article, but I will. It's talking about her accomplishments, film and directorial debut, right? And roughly knowing some of her views on certain subjects, certainly about women's issues on a global scale, I find this bizarre.

Beth Fox Heisinger

Yes, totally agree, Jeff.

Dan MaxXx

Kids grow up fast. She was so cute in "The Professional"

Owen Mowatt

Still looks cute to me.

Doug Nelson

Okay – she’s got an Oscar and graduated from Harvard where she contributed to some scientific research studies and I think she has her own clothing line – this girl’s got dedication, determination and brains. What’s wrong with that?

Beth Fox Heisinger

So. After reading/looking over the article this seems to be a blend of two different things: This email exchange between two people talking about serious issues, their personal history and their creative endeavors; and also a photo shoot Ms. Portman did with Craig McDean for T Magazine, "Must-have Sweaters!" The "Dior ambassador" poses in the designs of Max Mara, Solid & Striped, Vionnet and more styled by Max Permian. ...So NOT selling her own clothing line. Selling someone else's. For some dumb reason they (the magazine and/or the editor) decided to splice the two together. (Perhaps???) Gee, wouldn't it make sense to show a photo of these two "old friends" of 10+ years together? Perhaps laughing together or something actually related to the context of this article?! Perhaps something that reflects its tone? How about a mock image of Ms. Portman directing? Hey, she still could "model" a high-end sweater, right? ...Instead, shown opposite of this subhead, "On the eve of two milestones — her directorial debut, his first book in a decade — the famous actress and acclaimed novelist open up their inboxes," is Ms. Portman standing on a table with no pants!!! ...Yeah, that's taking her seriously. (Slaps forehead). And this is why I personally don't take fashion magazines seriously. LOL! ...Hmmmm, perhaps they'll get a not-so-nice call from her manager. LOL!

Al Hibbert

I did some research and found out what it was. She is wearing pants, they are just 'super sheer'-- they're a new fabric called 'invisibleiscious' She's wearing pants, but you just can't see them. But, they're there. I like em.

Nelle Nelle

I love Natalie Portman. She's very talented and incredibly smart. She deserved one picture with a pair of pants.

Erik Grossman

Not to go all proto-male, but if the picture is that offensive to her then she shouldn't have taken it? I'm guessing the photo isn't all that offensive to her. I doubt the NYT would just jack a photo from another shoot and plaster it on their article without notice or permission. So why did they have the photo at all? Well you probably wouldn't buy or talk about a photo of Natalie Portman arm in arm with some old friend, or sitting behind a camera. They put a photo of her with no pants on and hey, here we are, talking about it... Sex sells. That will never not be true, and if Portman doesn't WANT that to be true, she probably shouldn't be a brand ambassador for a women's clothing line which aims to be "sexy". I mean it's a friggin e-mail exchange they published, like come on... it's great publicity for her and the flick but holy crap what a boring idea for an article. So they throw a pic of her with no pants and bam, look at the other articles written about it! Look at all the attention it's getting. Hell, I wouldn't have even HEARD of this had it not been for the hub-bub surrounding the "no pants". The editors (and I'm guessing Portman as well) knew exactly what they were doing. Ya'll got played lol.

Beth Fox Heisinger

....Erik, those photos were taken during a photo shoot for a different purpose, a different context—she was modeling high-end sweaters for a fashion spread for T Magazine, selling designs by Max Mara, Solid & Striped and Vionnet. The magazine and/or editor decided to use these images for this article. THE EDITOR typically makes ALL final decisions—not movie stars, not models. I would assume that she did sign some kind of modeling contract and release forms (with some restrictions) which would give ownership of those images to the photographer and/or T Magazine to use in whatever manner they choose. My point here is that this was A DUMB DECISION ON THE PART OF THE MAGAZINE. This is eye-rolling! Talk about a mis-match of content and poor taste! I would say/think the same thing if this was a male movie star/director. Perhaps consider this same scenario for a male director. Would you still feel or think the same way?

Erik Grossman

I would, in fact if you look around I'm sure there are similar occurrences for male actors. Like I said, I doubt a picture of her wearing a parka standing behind a camera would have generated as much traffic and discussion about said article as a picture of her bottomless. The magazine is there to drive traffic and make money, and here we are talking about it... so while it may not be the most relevant image, while it may not even be considered tasteful (IMO, an actor/actresses' look is part of their brand, if they didn't want it exploited to at least some degree they probably chose the wrong career - there's a reason troglodytes don't star in movies, people who look like Natalie Portman do), it could be argued the editor made the right move. Just look at all the re-tweets, how many people clicked the article just because of those? And honestly it sounds like a boring article. It's not even an article it's just a bunch of emails between two people expressing mutual admiration. How thrilling. The editor probably looked at it and went "this is really boring, how to make it so people will actually read this?" If he wants to spice it up by adding a photo people will consider, that's his prerogative.

Beth Fox Heisinger

This is "boring," so let's show the woman half-dressed? Okay?! And you don't see how that's an issue?! LOL! ...Let's just say we disagree. And, yes, THEY COULD HAVE EASILY shot a more relevant, interesting image—even one with her in one of those damn sweaters! LOL! Plus, where's the image of the novelist? He's a major part of the article, is he not? He's got the byline. And, hey, he's an attractive young man of only 39. She went to Harvard. He went to Princeton. Where's his image standing on a desk without pants? Just saying... ;)

Stephen Barber

Wow, intense opinions on this topic. I have a question; did Natalie (complain) about the photos that were used?

Beth Fox Heisinger

Yesterday, I picked up an older issue of Vanity Fair and read an article about Bradley Cooper: all his accomplishments, his life, the death of his father, his schooling, his battle with addiction, his movie career, his Broadway show, "The Elephant Man."—a serious and long article! And it had great images, mostly black and white. A fantastic photoshopped image of an elephant standing over him in a room is especially creative. We all would agree that he is a sex symbol, yes? His good looks are part of his "brand." Nonetheless, in every image he's fully dressed. My point, and I apologize, I don't have the exact statistics at this very moment, but there's staggering data out there about how women are often portrayed versus how men are portrayed in the media. Women's accomplishments are often underrepresented and women are more commonly objectified. This Natalie Portman article clearly demonstrates that tendency. They could have easily achieved the same thing with this article, utilize some creativity, make an effort, perhaps use something from her work or her life to use in an image—just as Vanity Fair did with Bradley Cooper.

Stephen Barber

@Beth. If you feel this strongly about other people's perception of (other people) why don't YOU take some action and help to change what you feel others are perceiving? Not to be bitter or even confrontational, but what say you about all the "Fight Club" stills of Brad, RIPPED and shirtless, or David Beckham in his underwear?

Beth Fox Heisinger

Stephen, I am active in women's issues, thanks. Your two examples are of different things with different context. "Fight Club" is a film. Weren't all (most) fighters shown without shirts?—I just checked some stills from the film, there's a bunch of men without shirts, or wearing open shirts, tank tops, etc. Isn't that common for fighters? David Beckman models underwear for H&M, is that right? I honestly have no idea. Anyhoo, if those images of David Beckman (taken out of context) were along side an article about him talking about his accomplishments, his schooling, life, creative endeavors, I would roll my eyes at it too—as I said previously within this thread.

Doug Nelson

Nothing like a little controversy to get a conversation going. Every screenwriter reading this, take note: Every story hinges on conflict (great or small) – I see a good story here; Beth Versus the World where Steven and Beth must unite to stop the evil nudest colony director from abolishing clothing worldwide. (You're welcome to that story for free.)

Beth Fox Heisinger

Ah, here's the ratio for media that I mentioned before: "Females are almost four times as likely as males to be shown in sexy attire." Should anyone be interested you can find further information and facts at: seejane.org. ;) Cheers!

Stephen Barber

Beth, I was suggesting that maybe you should write a column or a blog, do an editorial for a purposeful voice if that seems to be such "tendency" in public today. I fully understand what fighters do or do not wear and realize that the images of them during that role may be captured. My point was that I've never in my life, sat next to another man and have seen the multiple images of attractive males (on the TV or in a Magazine) and looked to the man next to me and said, "this is shameful. That public figure is worth more than just his rock hard abs." I know this to be true, regardless of context. It just seems to me that there are too many people unhappy about other representations of (other people) when they should be equally open-minded to what are the possible benefits that others might perceive. Kim Kardashian was just featured in GQ magazine... I can't stand her. However, I read it. I looked at the pictures and I will continue to beg for that five minutes of my life back, but; I'm not going to argue with anyone about whether or not she's a strong business woman or a giving mother, or if she's made a mistake in how she's being perceived as a parent to the public. Why? Because just as I have that decision to not find the content approving to my beliefs, I know that SHE too had a decission and she chose to pose for them in the first place.

Zlatan Mustafica

Unfortunately, the executive world still holds on to the old mantra of "sex sells". I don´t like it because I have a brain and I like to use it. What is interesting to me is the mindset of certain individuals that make certain decisions. Why is it necessary to showcase an obviously talented, beautiful and intelligent young lady such as Ms Portman as a sex symbol of sorts. Her not wearing pants in this photo attached to the article is not what is going to get me to see her movie. It´s the story of her movie that is interesting to me. And I have to agree with Beth. I watch a lot of movies and it is astonishing how many different movies (in different genres) these days, almost always have to have either a beautiful, fairly good looking young woman either in a wet t-shirt or in tights bending over with a close-up of that woman´s backside. How does that serve a plot? And what does it say about marketing strategies when sex-appeal is bringing male audiences to the theater seats? Not very flattering or encouraging is it? Just few examples. I mean, come on directors! Let´s get our minds out of the gutter. We as human beings in 2016 should be at least a little bit better than that.

Stephen Barber

@Zlatan. I believe that the story is lightyears more important than the "...wet t-shirt or in tights bending over with a close-up of that woman's backside." However, I kinda like that stuff. It doesn't bother me one bit. Again, to each is own. Your point about the old mantra, it's something that will never go away as long as there's someone who will relate to it, and right now there's a gargantuan market that enjoys looking at attractive people. Nevertheless, we're going to continue to see equally portrayed characters on screen until the end of film itself, or, our existence. Which ever is quicker. My point; "Tarzan." = Ripped dude with shirt off... Wonderwoman in "Batman V.S. Superman." = Attractive woman in light clothing. Result? $872. MILLION DOLLARS. I write what I feel, and I'm sure that in some way, people agree to what they accept. But if we tend to regulate what should be made or (even worse) what shouldn't be made, the only thing we do is tell others what exactly they are supposed to experience. I think the movie business is similar to many others... it's just another opportunity for someone to take from it what they wish.

Zlatan Mustafica

Stephen - Sure, I hear you and absolutely agree with everything you´re saying. And I get that too. Some things don´t bother me per se, but it makes me wonder why do we need all that to make a story interesting, you know? Of course, if looked at from an artistic perspective. I never could answer that question myself. Somehow, thinking back on the movies made in the "old days" there was something beautiful in the way women were portrayed. It strikes me as a more romantic time of filmmaking. Maybe I´m an old softy, I don´t know. LOL. But you´re right, film industry is no different from any other. As long as everyone gets paid it´s all good, right? :) Bottom line, I guess.

Beth Fox Heisinger

Thanks, Stephen, I appreciate that idea. I'm already pretty vocal about this stuff, perhaps too much. LOL! I've always been interested in sociology, psychology, media, etc. Personally, I can't stand Kim Kardashian. I'll just say I see her as a clear example of our society's gender issues. Anyway, this is not a "men versus women" thing—not at all. We're all in this together. And I don't think men (in general) have quite the same experience of (societal) "oppression" in this particular way. Not to belittle anyone's personal experience or perception, just saying in broad, giant, societal strokes. Again, there's statistics that are very upsetting and saddening. And once you tune in to it, see it more clearly and its affects, it's hard not to see it. Here's a trailer for a documentary called "Miss Representation." It's a little old now, produced in 2011, but sadly the statistics shown have hardly changed: http://therepresentationproject.org/film/miss-representation/. This same group did a documentary about how society is also failing our men and boys, "The Mask You Live In." I haven't seen this film in its entirety yet, but I will. Here's that trailer too: http://therepresentationproject.org/film/the-mask-you-live-in/. :)

Stephen Barber

Zlatan - Agree with you on the "old days." I'm 37 years old and one of my favorite films EVER was and is, "Best Years of Our Lives." That movie was made 32 years before I was born. Why? Because of what you touched on regarding the way of life back then. There was a cast that put together a touching story on screen that changed my life. They were tactful, they were conservative in dress and they portrayed a story in which I can relate to: loss, failure and finding a way to move forward in life. I agree that it's all about the bottom line... In prison, the 'Shot-Callers' make the moves. In Washington, the 'Squeakiest-Wheel' gets the grease. And in the Playground, the 'Hyper-Child' is the one with the friends. My point to these? Behavior is transparent. If there's a movement in what the masses are responding to, then there's also something to be gained because of it. Check out Instagram some time. There's plenty of attractive people on there: But what makes them attractive is in the eye of the beholder. I.e. there are people who post comments and grab my attention, but, there are also people who post pictures and never say a word and gain my interest with what they chose to post. On the record, I'd love to make a movie like we had during the 'old days' but I believe there's just as much beauty in the present that we've yet to experience.

Zlatan Mustafica

Stephen- Well, I´m 36 myself and I can totally relate to what you´re saying. It is incredibly interesting how we today can look back and analyze the changing psychology of society in different eras. What is IN today will be OUT tomorrow and vice versa. In our modern society with all the technology around us it seems to me though as if we are far more easily affected by advertising and not only of products and services but values and ideas. I mean, like you point out, appearances is everything these days. Girls are told every day they should look a certain way, boys as well. That vivid imagery, seems to me, has not been present in the "old days" as much as it is nowadays. I love watching old movies like the one you mentioned. It is a nice escape if anything :)

Stephen Barber

Beth, I watched the trailers and understand your position. I lived a very fast, destructive and toxic life at a young age. There were many reasons as to why I felt I needed to behave that way and eventually, it came down to only ONE that had to change. ME. I had to change the way I reacted to the way that I felt. Now, I'm not saying that there are not real problems with media/society, no. Jesus, anybody in this world can just turn on the news and see that we have a destructive civilization. What I am saying is that the culprit or protagonist in our everyday life is only powered/throttled-back/defeated by the power we give it. When I was 13 years old, my childhood was violent. So was I. I had experienced a way of life that I wouldn't wish for any child. I am grateful to have had an opportunity to sort my sht out because without it I'm certain I wouldn't be here today. In 2009 a movie (short) called "Aaron Bacon" was made that was to "tell the truth" about what caused the death of, Aaron Bacon. The full movie is here: https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=2&cad=rja&... Why am I going here? I was sent to the exact place that he was. I had every reason to initiate the fear of my parents that he did. There was another difference... I came home. I'm not trying sound like an a$$hole, I acknowledge that his story is heartbreaking to his family and couldn't imagine the loss. What I'd like to provide is the different (perception). I experienced the same thing, however the message that this film portrayed was sad. It was derogatory, it was ruthless, and it was a perception that not only horrible things happened there, but never was there a scenario that should be accepted for a place like this in the future. I lived that life at a younger age. I came home to my family and straightened my behavior. I grew up to be of service to my Country, my family and my friends. It saved my life. Today I have three children, two boys and a girl who I adhore. I promise you that when I think about how they're to grow in the world in which we live in, there are times that I cringe to the thought of what they're going to witness when I am out of control of how and when they experiene it. What I can do is provide a level playing field for thought. Remind them that when we change the way we think, the things we look at change. I grew up with my experience and decided to write it. I felt that there was a NEED to express a different point of view, different to what that (short) had portrayed. I wrote "By Noble Means." Why? Because there's an audience out there that I feel would benefit by experiencing that story and seeing what can happen when, *it works. I'm not arguing with you Beth to waste your time, I actually admire you and the things you do for others here... I'm just saying that when I see people get worked up about other people's decisions, it reminds me of flying or, (picture a motorcycle, racing on a winding road), if you/me/they/we are moving through life or our route and we begin to focus on that (tree) that we're trying to avoid, 9/10 times we're going to crash into it. We tend to go where we aim. All I'm suggesting is before we jump to judment on ANYTHING, maybe we could benefit by finding the good points first, or even better, be of service to people who would benefit because that is what we've don.

Al Hibbert

Not to change the subject, but since we're talking about underwear- Is it a commonality (for people who do their own laundry) to have that "last pair" that we fish around for in the laundry basket the day before you're completely out of fresh ones? You know the ones that might have small hole or two, no elastic, and maybe some other unpleasant characteristics-- the pair you hope you don't have a car wreck on that day?

Beth Fox Heisinger

That's an incredible experience, Stephen. Thanks for sharing it. I greatly appreciate your comments. :) Perhaps you are misunderstanding me a little here... I'm not judging anyone—not my intention. I'm commenting on a topic, a particular article that many others have also commented and countered on. I also drifted into a broader discussion, talking about society in general. I also have a background working in advertising, marketing, art direction, and have worked with various magazines, photographers, and other forms of media... Anyway, it is interesting (and eye-rolling) to me that this one article featuring Natalie Portman fits exactly into the various studies of the media and its treatment and portrayal of women. :)

Stephen Barber

Copy that, Beth.

Al Hibbert

They look like granny panties.

Beth Fox Heisinger

Actually, Al, I think that's a swimsuit...? And, good grief, enough about underwear! LOL! ;) Cheers all!

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