Before Natalie Portman took on the role of a lifetime—embodying Jackie Kennedy in the Pablo Larraín’s biographical drama Jackie—she didn’t know much about the former First Lady, beyond her iconic impact on fashion.
“Like most of the world, I knew her as a style icon,” Portman said when we sat down with her at the Toronto International Film Festival. “But what I loved about this film is that the approach was to think of her as a human being. She knew she was this symbol for people and she played that role well, but she also had a very complex and private interior life that we wanted to look at.”
Jackie takes place largely after and around President John F. Kennedy’s assassination in 1963, which meant that the costumes (pink Chanel suit, included) needed to be as historically accurate as possible to help set the scene. “This was not happy fashion,” said Portman of the recreated looks. “They were very much part of the story though. All of the aspects of her physical appearance—the clothes, hair, and makeup—helped me get into character.”
Portman says there were a few other important elements to playing the First Lady that took more time than simply slipping on some Dior. “Learning the details about how she spoke, which included her accent and the rhythms of her voice was crucial,” she noted. “And then, most importantly, was the emotional aspect of the role. I read many interviews with her and there were big sections that said ‘this portion was deleted by Jackie.’ It allowed me to fill in the blanks and imagine what she didn’t want out there.”
VIDEO: Jackie Official Teaser Trailer
Jackie is playing in select theaters today. And keep scrolling to see seven of the First Lady’s most iconic recreated looks from the film.