The Star Wars character Padmé Amidala Naberrie has a complex storyline. She is the teenage Queen of Naboo, a senator in the Galactic Senate, wife of Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker, mother of Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa, and grandmother to Ben Solo.
Although these roles aren’t all portrayed in one film, the character’s storyline connects to all the Star Wars films. The role appeared in the Star Wars prequel trilogy as the love interest of Anikan Skywalker.
Some of the stars of Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith: (from left) Natalie Portman (Padmé Amidala), Samuel L. Jackson (Mace Windu), Hayden Christensen (Anakin Skywalker), Jimmy Smits (Bail Organa), Ewan McGregor (Obi-Wan Kenobi), R2-D2 (R2-D2) and Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca)
Natalie Portman played the role throughout the trilogy. Although not new to the world of acting, Portman was skyrocketed into the Hollywood limelight after appearing in the first film and grew up in the eyes of the Star Wars loyal fan base.
Many people have wondered just how old the young star was when she appeared in Star Wars Episodes I, II, and III.
Jedi Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) has some disquieting news for Senator Padmé Amidala (Natalie Portman) in Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith
Natalie Portman was born on June 9, 1981, as Neta-Lee Hershlag. Her acting career started at a young age when she starred as Mathilda Lando in Léon: The Professional at just 12 years of age.
She also starred alongside Julia Roberts, Alan Alda, Edward Norton, Drew Barrymore, Gaby Hoffmann, Tim Roth, Goldie Hawn, and Natasha Lyonne in the 1996 American musical comedy film Everyone Says I Love You.
Goldie Hawn as Steffi Dandridge and Natalie Portman as Laura Dandridge in Everyone Says I Love You
Although her early films were well received, Portman became internationally known after starring in Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace.
Although the films received a significant amount of backlash, with many people believing they received too much hype, they still represent a significant piece of the Star Wars franchise.
Natalie Portman’s role as Padmé Amidala and the costume design has become infamous. So much so that she believes she had difficulty finding work following the trilogy.
So, just how old was Natalie Portman when she stared as Padmé Amidala? Well, it depends on the movie, but she started filming the trilogy at the age of 16 and was 23 years old when the last film was released.
Natalie Portman Age in Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace
The first of the trilogy was filmed in 1997, making her just 16 years old at the time of filming.
Natalie Portman was 16 when filming Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace
The movie was released two years later in 1999 when Portman was 18 years old.
Natalie Portman Age in Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones
The second film of the trilogy was filmed a few years later in 2000.
Natalie Portman was 19 when filming Episode II – Attack of the Clones
Portman was 19 at the time and was on the verge of her 21st birthday when the film premiered in May of 2002.
Natalie Portman Age in Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith
Production on the last film of the trilogy began in 2003 when Portman was 22 years old.
Natalie Portman was 22 when filming Episode III – Revenge of the Sith
It was released two years later, just before her 24th birthday.
How Natalie Portman was cast as Padmé Amidala in Star Wars
When casting, Lucas looks for actors he believes embody the characters, both on and off-screen. There were unique factors that had to be considered when casting for these Star Wars roles.
Natalie Portman (Senator Padme Amidala) and Ewan McGregor (Obi-Wan Kenobi) listen to director George Lucas describe the next shot on the set of Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith
The characters would all have to complement one another, but seeing as it was a prequel, they needed to consider the adult version of these actors, and in some cases, their future children.
When looking for a young actress to play the role of Padmé Amidala, they needed to find someone who could be the ruler of a planet while simultaneously being vulnerable and open, with Leia’s similar characteristics.
It is said that Lucas envisioned the role even before casting began. Ian McCaig, the conceptual artist for the trilogy, had envisioned Portman when drawing Padmé Amidala as he had just watched her in The Professional.
After being cast, Portman embraced the role. “It was wonderful playing a young queen with so much power. I think it will be good for young women to see a strong woman of action who is also smart and a leader,” she said in an interview about expecting to become a role model.
Although excited about the role, she was unfamiliar with the Star Wars phenomenon and had not seen any of the movies. She did her research, though, and watched all three films before production began.
Portman also prepared for the role by studying the accents of Audrey and Katherine Hepburn. There’s no doubt Portman did her homework. However, she still had her share of struggles while filming.
Portman wasn’t used to the special effects having only a few years of acting experience and being just 16 years of age.
Is Padmé and Queen Amidala the same person?
There is some confusion surrounding Padmé and Queen Amidala and whether or not they are the same person. Much of the confusion is centered around Episode 1 when Queen Amidala reveals that she is Padmé, one of the Queen’s handmaids.
To answer the question, yes, they are the same person. Amidala is her ceremonial title, while Padme is her real name. Some confusion exists because, in Episode 1, a decoy is used to protect the Queen.
Near the end of Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Natalie Portman’s character Queen Amidala reveals that she’s also Padme, one of the Queen’s handmaidens
The decoy is dressed to look like the Queen, while the real Queen, Padmé, dresses like a bodyguard. This is to fool would-be assassins. In the film, Padmé’s handmaid Sabe acts as her decoy and pretends to be the Queen.
Keira Knightly actually played the role of Sabe and was just 12 years old at the time of filming. So although it appears that Keira Knightly (Sabe) is Queen Amidala at times, it’s actually Natalie Portman (Padmé) who is the true Queen Amidala.
When the first film was released, critics had some strong, not-so-nice words. Many criticized Lucas for being a sell-out and producing sub-par films that were overhyped.
(Left to right) Hayden Christensen, Producer Rick McCallum, Writer-Director George Lucas, Natalie Portman, and Ewan Gordon McGregor OBE gather on the first day of shooting of Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith
Portman actually missed the movie’s premiere because she was writing her high school exams. Unfortunately, she couldn’t miss the criticism. At such a young age, it was hard for her to take in all the criticism of the film.
She recalls, “It was hard. It was a bummer because it felt like people were so excited about new ones and then to have people feel disappointed. Also to be at an age that I didn’t really understand that’s kind of the nature of the beast. When something has that much anticipation it can almost only disappoint.”
It’s hard to imagine anyone else playing the role of Padmé Amidala. Although the trilogy has received its share of criticism, many can agree that Natalie Portman as Padmé Amidala was a big casting win.;
In September 2010, Natalie Portman looked spectacular in a scorching red gown from Rodarte and a pair of metallic sandals from Charles David at the 67th Venice Film Festival.
Natalie Portman in a Rodarte gown and Charles David sandals
The American/Israeli actress, film producer, and director joined co-star Vincent Cassel and director Darren Aronofsky on the red carpet for the premiere of her new film, ‘Black Swan’.
Natalie Portman joining co-star Vincent Cassel and director Darren Aronofsky on the red carpet at the premiere of Black Swan during the 67th Venice Film Festival held at the Sala Grande Palazzo Del Cinema in Venice, Italy, on September 1, 2010
The gorgeous actress wore a claret silk tulle gown from Rodarte featuring Swarovski crystals on the bodice. She wore minimal accessories to highlight the jeweled embellishments on her stunning dress.
Natalie Portman looking enchanting in a red gown from Rodarte
Natalie carried a quilted Dior clutch and finished off her look with a pair of gold “Blaze” sandals from Charles David.
Natalie Portman shows off her feet in gold sandals from Charles David
Michael Antonio “Jennings” Metallic Sandals, $49.99
Dune “Honor” Heeled Sandals, $103.23
Gucci Gold Leather Strappy Open-Toe Sandals, $556
Stuart Weitzman “Surreal” Evening Sandals, $585
What do you think of Natalie Portman’s classy ensemble?
The actress also wore Charles David pumps to a different event earlier the same day paired with a strapless Miu Miu dress.
Natalie Portman at a photocall for the movie ‘Black Swan’ during the 67th Venice International Film Festival in Italy on September 1, 2010