Natalie Portman (born Natalie Hershlag June 9, 1981) is an Israeli American actress. Her first role came in the 1994 independent film Léon. She became very widely known when she was cast as Padmé Amidala in the Star Wars prequel trilogy. Portman, who stated that she would "...rather be smart than be a movie star," completed a bachelor's degree in psychology at Harvard College while she was working on the Star Wars films. In 2001, Portman opened in New York City's Public Theater production of Chekhov's The Seagull, alongside Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline, and Philip Seymour Hoffman. In 2005, Portman received a Golden Globe Award as Best Supporting Actress in the drama Closer. In May 2008, she served as the youngest member of the 61st Annual Cannes Film Festival jury. Portman's directorial debut, Eve, opened the 65th Venice International Film Festival's shorts competition in 2008.