Natalie Portman, Ashton Kutcher at ‘No Strings Attached’ premiere


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This post has been corrected. See the note at the bottom for details. Natalie Portman Ashton Kutcher

Natalie Portman has a lot going on. She’s in the heat of award season, riding ‘Black Swan’ buzz into Golden Globes weekend. She’s also been busy promoting her latest film, the romantic comedy ‘No Strings Attached,’ in which she stars opposite Ashton Kutcher.

And, um, how many minutes ago did she announce she’s engaged to Benjamin Millepied and, as she put it recently, busy ‘cooking a child’?

‘I feel so, so, so lucky and I’m trying to take it all in and enjoy everything,’ she said at the ‘No Strings Attached’ premiere Tuesday in Westwood, where she was already sporting a tiny baby bump. ‘It definitely makes me feel calmer about everything to really be in such a lucky place in my personal life.’


But some critics have questioned the timing of the rom-com’s release, wondering if ‘Strings’ could be Portman’s ‘Norbit’ -- a reference to the goofy 2007 film that some say ruined Eddie Murphy‘s shot at a best supporting actor Oscar for ‘Dreamgirls.’ ‘Strings’ director Ivan Reitman finds the idea that Portman can’t have viable comedic and dramatic acting chops ‘silly.’

‘Comedic acting is just like dramatic acting, except harder,’ he said. ‘Because you have to do all the stuff that you would as a dramatic actor, which is honesty and truth and believability in every moment, plus you have the pressure of doing that one little special thing in every moment that sort of carries the thing on in a humorous way.’

In ‘No Strings Attached,’ Portman’s character is an unfeeling med student who enters into a casual sexual relationship with her best friend, played by Kutcher. The actress said she was interested in the project because she felt it reflected the story of a modern woman.

‘I mean, I love romantic comedies, but I am tired of just seeing girls who want to get married all the time and that’s all they’re interested in,’ she said.

Kutcher agreed, saying he believed the film doesn’t ‘fall into the traditional arc of romantic comedy.’

‘I feel like we’ve seen a ton of really raunchy guy movies out there from the male perspective of the relationship, and they always sort of skim over the female perspective of the relationship,’ he added.

Also spotted: Kutcher’s wife Demi Moore and her daughter Rumer Willis; cast members Kevin Kline, Cary Elwes, Lake Bell, Greta Gerwig, Mindy Kaling and Jake M. Johnson; plus ‘Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist’ star Kat Dennings, and Ludacris.

‘No Strings Attached’ opens Jan. 21. Click here for more pics from the red carpet.


[For the record, 2:26 p.m.: The movie ‘Dreamgirls’ was incorrectly referred to as ‘Dreamworks’ in an earlier incarnation of this post. Thanks to commenter @Jordan for flagging the error.]


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-- Amy Kaufman