June 6, 2002
Recently, I attended the rodeo with Natalie Portman. We came in
separate cars, and she pretended not to know me. But we quickly
connected over our common interests. She was interested in the rodeo,
and I was interested in things she was interested in.
Suddenly, I realized I should be asking her lots of questions because
shes a movie star and thats what they like more than
anything else: strangers dressed in clown makeup asking them questions
while theyre at the rodeo.
Unfortunately, girls hate me. Nevertheless, Natalie was wonderfully
courteous in taking the time to allow for an interview. We stood,
leaning over the railing, watching horses bounce by in epileptic
Brother Jacques: So... I loved your work in The Fires
Natalie Portman: I was never in The Fires of Detroit.
You must be thinking of Kermit the Frog.
Brother Jacques: Oh, right. Great movie. He really shined
in that role.
Natalie Portman: Kermits a well seasoned actor.
Brother Jacques: You are an actress though, arent
Natalie Portman: Yes. But when Im in front of a horse,
its 100% rodeo Natalie. Now let me concentrate.
Brother Jacques: Hey, where were you born?
Natalie Portman: I was born and grew up in Togo.
Brother Jacques: Where is Togo anyway?
Natalie Portman: I dont know.
Brother Jacques: Do you think you could lift a horse over
Natalie Portman: Only if it was a very small horse.
Brother Jacques: Obviously... do you think you could lift
a car over your head?
Natalie Portman: With mental powers or sheer physical strength?
Brother Jacques: Either.
Natalie Portman: No one can lift a car over their head with
Brother Jacques: Abraham Lincoln could do it.
Natalie Portman: Yes, but Lincolns dead.
Brother Jacques: He was shot.
Natalie Portman: Thats what they want you to think.
Brother Jacques: Who?
Natalie Portman: The communists.
Brother Jacques: Are you telling me that that Abraham Lincoln
could wrestle alligators in Jell-O and that he was really crushed
by a car he was trying to levitate?
Natalie Portman: Hey, Im just pointing out the facts.
In order for Lincolns brain to
splatter as it did, he would have had to been trying to levitate
two cars. One car from the upper balcony, and one from the
Brother Jacques: So there must have been a second car all
Natalie Portman: Who are you anyway? FBI?
Brother Jacques: No. But I am just as qualified. I once
tracked down a serial killer. It turns out he was killing people
based on specific numerical patterns he derived from the marshmallow
content of a box of Lucky Charms cereal.
Natalie Portman: Fascinating. But remember how we had that
discussion about rodeo Natalie? Well rodeo Natalie
is trying to concentrate.
Brother Jacques: Oh yeah, right, sorry about that...
Brother Jacques: So... been in any movies recently?
Rodeo Natalie: Rodeo Natalie doesnt
care much for movies.
Brother Jacques: What about regular Natalie?
Natalie Portman: Actually, Im in the latest series
of Star Wars movies.
Brother Jacques: You were amazing in them.
Natalie Portman: Have you seen them?
Brother Jacques: Ive seen all of them. I love the
one with the Tribbles.
Natalie Portman: Thats not Star Wars. Youre
thinking of William Shatners novel Tekwar.
Brother Jacques: Really?
Natalie Portman: I helped write it. The concept of robots
was my idea. Lucasfilm just swiped the notion and ran with it.
Brother Jacques: Wow.
Rodeo Natalie: Quiet! Spitfires coming
out of the gate.
Brother Jacques: Wow. Is that a horse? Ive never been
to a rodeo before.
Rodeo Natalie: The rodeo is partitioned into
a series of events. This portion of the rodeo is the one in which
all the horses are classified according color and ice-cream flavor
preference. Its the contestants role to decide which
horse belongs in which category.
Brother Jacques: Amazing. And what happens if theyre
Rodeo Natalie: Then theyre executed.
Brother Jacques: Sounds a bit harsh.
Rodeo Natalie: If they werent executed,
theyd be torn apart by an angry mob after the rodeo anyway.
Its more humane this way. Torture is only allowed if the contestant
chooses pistachio and the horse, in fact, prefers peach. Pistachio
is always the wild card.
Rodeo Natalie (examining the horses as they dash
by): Vanilla, vanilla, strawberry, vanilla, chocolate, vanilla-chocolate
swirl, chocolate chip cookie dough, mint, vanilla frozen yogurt
(actually, thats considered a technical foul), and double
chocolate. The next round is horse-dancing. But Wind Envelope has
never been able to master the polka. After that, all the horses
get together to act out scenes from The Diary of Anne Frank.
Brother Jacques: Really? That seems pretty powerful.
Natalie Portman: Its a shame that people dont
give rodeo the respect and recognition it deserves as a serious
[After a moving dance sequence and extended neighing of The
Impossible Dream (The Quest) and various tunes from the
musical Cats (done in a medley), Spitfire donned the role
of Anne Frank. It was a surprisingly good rendition, which unfortunately
fell a bit flat near the middle when Peter got bitten by the rat,
but picked up dramatically toward the end. There were some extraordinarily
graphic moments though, certainly not suitable for children. Finally,
as Spitfire was marched off toward the gas chamber, the entire
crowd fell silent. It took a few minutes before anyone was even
willing to risk speech.]
Brother Jacques: What if the horse likes every flavor of
Natalie Portman: It could mean the end of rodeo as we know
Brother Jacques: What if the horse doesnt like ice-cream
Natalie Portman: Then may God have mercy on our souls.