Luc Besson Abuse Allegations Changed How Natalie Portman Views The Professional

natalie portman leon the professional

Natalie Portman, who starred in 1994’s Léon: The Professional, addressed how abuse allegations made against director Luc Besson have changed her personal view of the film that launched her career.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Portman was asked about the allegations of sexual abuse against Besson by multiple women, which the actor described as “devastating” and surprising. “I really didn’t know. I was a kid working. I was a kid. But I don’t want to say anything that would invalidate anyone’s experience,” Portman said. “It’s a movie that’s still beloved, and people come up to me about it more than almost anything I’ve ever made, and it gave me my career, but it is definitely, when you watch it now, it definitely has some cringey, to say the least, aspects to it. So, yes, it’s complicated for me.


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In the same interview, Portman discussed her involvement in the Time’s Up organization, which has since disbanded but was formed in 2018 by women in Hollywood to raise money for victims of sexual harassment in the wake of Harvey Weinstein and the Me Too movement. “There was something so powerful about just gathering women with similar experiences and sharing,” Portman said. “And so many amazing things have spun off it that I think those relationships have persisted and have turned into incredible other projects, but it still is painful that Time’s Up doesn’t exist anymore as it was.”

What Are the Allegations Against Luc Besson?

In 2018, actor Sand Van Roy came forward with claims that she had been raped multiple times by Besson, though he denied these claims, describing them as “fantasist accusations.” Apart from Van Roy, eight additional women would come forward with their own claims of abuse and assault against Besson. French prosecutors dropped the investigation into the director’s alleged misconduct in 2019 due to insufficient evidence. In 2021, Besson was declared an assisted witness to the case, meaning that he was no longer under investigation, and could still be implicated if any new evidence should surface.

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“This hearing in Paris is part of ongoing judicial proceedings that began with an investigation by the police and public prosecutor, and has found that no criminal acts had been committed,” said EuropaCorp attorney Michael Kump at the time. “Mr. Besson continues to fully cooperate with the authorities and to deny all accusations made against him, and he looks forward to clearing his name.” As of May 2022, according to the BBC, the Paris Court of Appeal dismissed Van Roy’s rape accusations against Besson.

Released in 1994, Léon: The Professional was written and directed by Besson and stars Jean Reno, Gary Oldman, and Portman in her film debut as the twelve-year-old Mathilda Lando. Portman was cast in the role at the age of 11. Along with The Professional, Besson has directed films such as Nikita, The Fifth Element, The Big Blue and Subway.

Source: THR, BBC


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