Natalie Portman Tapped To Play Female Bull Rider for ‘The Fits’ Director in ‘Bronco Belle’
Last week Natalie Portman starred in the new music video for James Blake’s “My Willing Heart.” The stunning black and white video, directed by Anna Rose Holmer, seemed like a random collaboration between Portman, The Fits director, and the British musician – you know, cool creatives just hanging out making art. But it turns out Portman and Holmer have another project underway.
A new report from Deadline reveals the Jackie actress is attached to star in the latest film from The Fits director, and it won’t find her wandering lavish hallways in pearls and gowns. (Or maybe it will, who knows.) Bronco Bell will star Portman as a female bull rider in what the trade describes as a “Rocky-esque female empowerment tale” about a woman struggling to make her dreams a reality in a male-dominated sport. That sounds incredibly exciting, especially since Holmer’s already showed off her chops for charting the pressures and expectations surrounding gender in sports with The Fits. Plus, a chance to see Portman take on a physically-demanding role is something to look forward to.
Emily Blunt was previously tapped to star in the film, a role screenwriter Khurram Longi had written with the Mary Poppins actress in mind back in 2015. It’s unknown how much the script has evolved since then, but we do know some initial details based on an old report by ScreenDaily. Bronco Bello, which Longi was originally supposed to make his directing debut with, originally found Blunt in the role of Raylene Jackson, described as a “stubborn but vulnerable and determined American woman” with dreams of champion bull riding. Raylene is supported by a male trainer attempting to redeem himself and a hustler promoter.
Longi told ScreenDaily he was inspired to write the film after seeing Blunt in Edge of Tomorrow and stumbling across rodeo culture in Texas. “For me this is a female Rocky-on-a-bull type of film,” Longi said at the time. Longi is still attached as the screenwriter, so Holmer’s Bronco Bell might not look all that different from the writer’s initial vision. Natalie Portman does Rocky from a great new female director? Sign us up!