Portman Discusses Harvard's Social Scene

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Natalie Portman '03 said in a recent interview with Newsweek Magazine that although she doesn’t have a Facebook account, she's very familiar with the depiction of Harvard's social scene in "The Social Network."

"I went to school with those guys ... I know the Winklevoss twins; I partied with them," Portman said.

Portman, nominated for an Oscar for her portrayal of Nina Sayers in "Black Swan," joined fellow Oscar nominee James E. Franco and several Newsweek editors to share some of her memories of Harvard's social scene that were incorporated into Aaron B. Sorkin's screenplay for "The Social Network."

"How about when they all go to that [final] club and all those college students are stripping? That is bullshit,” said an incredulous Franco. Portman said that she was not aware of such parties but joked that she just might not have been invited to those parties.

"The whole social scene is men's clubs where girls have to, you know, have to be friends with the guys to get in," Portman said.

"Oh yeah, I got in," said Portman, laughing. "I was an actress."

Portman also discussed the punch process, part of which, in the film, entailed punches carrying around a live chicken.

"They didn't know what to do with the chickens afterward and they killed like 400 chickens in the basement of one of these clubs," Portman said.

"But I don't think that happened when they were—that happened when I was a freshman, I think," Portman added.

Portman also discussed her positive experiences with classmates during her time at Harvard.

"I have a group of amazing friends for the past, you know, it's more than 10 years now who are doing really interesting things, are really successful in completely different worlds, and who turn me on to different things; they're interesting people and just like normal, good people who are kind of like a little bubble around me," she said.

Portman attributed her positive experience to attending college before "the age of camera phones, online gossip, and Twitter."

"I was completely left alone for four years," she said. "I really was just like a regular student there and everyone treated me like that, and I made friends that way."

Portman’s performance in "Black Swan" has been met with astonishing commercial and critical success. Her newest film, "No Strings Attached," a romantic comedy costarring Ashton Kutcher opened on Jan. 21.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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