NEW YORK (WABC) --She's known for her work in "Black Swan" and "Star Wars: Episode 1".
But Natalie Portman's latest movie work puts her both on screen and behind the camera, as a director.
At the age of 35, Natalie Portman has been a star for two decades. She is what Hollywood likes to call 'bankable', meaning her name can be used to raise money for a movie.
She put her clout to good use to direct her first full-length film, but as she told me, it wasn't easy!
"A Tale of Love and Darkness" is a passion project that took actress Natalie Portman a decade to bring to the screen, in part because it was the first feature she'd ever directed, but also because the star insisted her film be in Hebrew.
"It's very much a part of the story, and I wanted it to have the authenticity to it," said Portman.
The story of a mother and her son takes place amid the birth of Israel after the Holocaust.
"It's such an unusual moment because you have all of these refugees from Europe fleeing this persecution of Jews in Europe," said Portman. "Most people had lose their entire families so it's almost like a nation of orphans and then having this utopian dream of creating this country together."
A dream that often resembled a nightmare, with consequences that still reverberate three quarters of a century later.
This tale, with equal parts 'love' and 'darkness', is based on a best-selling autobiography by Amos Oz, but the movie version is rooted deeply in the life of the woman who adapted it for the screen.
"You were born in Jerusalem," I said to Natalie. "Yes," she said.
"Raised here, but born in Jerusalem. Do you still have dual citizenship?", I asked.
"I do. I have both Israeli and American citizenship," she said.
Asked why that is important to her, she said, "Well, I, I feel very lucky to have been born into a time when Israel existed because my grandparents and their families didn't have that safety and were persecuted for being Jewish."
This film then is a tribute to her forebearers, and what could be more personal than that?
Portman attended Hebrew school in Jericho on Long Island, telling me that was challenging but less demanding than learning the language as an adult must be.