Since Vox Lux was first announced, more than two years ago, there’s been ample speculation about who, exactly, was the inspiration for the film’s darkly tragic, elaborately costumed pop star. Is she Lady Gaga or Katy Perry? Britney Spears, perhaps, or even Jessica Simpson? Perhaps Madonna, or a hint of Gena Rowlands in John Cassavetes’s Opening Night? Sia did the music, so maybe there’s a bit of her in there. And what pop star has a Staten Island accent? (Surely, it’s not Pete Davidson.)
Actually, the director Brady Corbet and the star Natalie Portman (who replaced Rooney Mara in the lead role after she dropped out due to production delays, which is probably for the best because it’s really the most Natalie Portman character) are here to set you straight: It’s not any of the above. It’s also kind of all of them. It’s also, somewhat unexpectedly, Kanye West.
“If anything, I feel like the character’s closest to Kanye West,” Corbet said in an interview with Vulture this week during AFI Fest, where Vox Lux screened after premiering at the Venice Film Festival earlier in the fall. Portman chimed in here, saying she “wasn’t thinking Kanye” but, at Corbet’s suggestion, “totally could see it.”
“The idea was that the character would be sort of an amalgamation of many, many, many, different real-life personages. There are certain character traits or parts of the story that evoke real-life people,” Corbet went on. “You never want people to take the comparison the wrong way. The character is a fictional character so I wouldn’t end up insulting anyone.” Portman again echoed her agreement, saying she doesn’t “really see [Celeste, her character,] as one” person alone—it’s more like “different sides,” depending on whom Celeste is interacting with, be it family, professional peers, or fans. So, please, Britney, Stefani, Madonna, Katheryn—don’t take this the wrong way, and don’t take offense. It’s not really you, it’s Kanye.
Pregnant Actress and Jackie Star Natalie Portman Is at Her Best in Romantic Gowns
Natalie Portman in Lanvin at the premiere of Sicario at the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France, May 2015.
Natalie Portman in Dior at the Toronto Film Festival in Toronto, Canada, September 2015.
Natalie Portman in Lanvin at the premiere of A Tale of Love and Darkness at the Toronto Film Festival in Toronto, Canada, September 2015.
Natalie Portman in Valentino at the premiere of Jane Got a Gun in New York, New York, January 2016.
Natalie Portman in Dior at an AOL Build talk discussing A Tale of Love and Darkness in New York, New York, August 2016.
Natalie Portman in Dior at the premiere of Planetarium at the Toronto Film Festival in Toronto, Canada, September 2016.
Natalie Portman in Prada with Louboutin clutch and Tiffany & Co. jewelry at the premiere of Jackie at the Toronto Film Festival in Toronto, Canada, September 2016.
Natalie Portman in Dior at the AFI Fest screening of Jackie in Hollywood, California, November 2016.
Natalie Portman in Rodarte at the Gotham Independent Film Awards in New York, New York, November 2016.
Natalie Portman in Brandon Maxwell on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, November 2016.
Natalie Portman in vintage Prada at the 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 8, 2017.
Natalie Portman in Dior at the 2017 SAG Awards.
Natalie Portman opted for a Topshop frock, perhaps not her prime best actress material, at the Oscars nominees’ luncheon in Beverly Hills, California, February 2017.