Even at her youngest and most inexperienced, you could tell Natalie Portman would eventually go on to some great things. Here she is at 11 years old auditioning for what would become her first big-screen role opposite Jean Reno in Luc Besson's Léon: The Professional, about a professional assassin who rescues a chain-smoking teenage girl named Mathilda after her parents are killed in a police raid. The audition itself is pretty routine, and while Portman does seem a little rough around the edges, you can't take your eyes off her, well, eyes. They evoke a striking determination, and we wouldn't be surprised if they hired her based on those eyes alone.
As Mathilda, Portman brought a little bit of everything to the role. She's innocent and sexy and serious and tough, and her relationship with Léon (Reno) is borderline creepy at times. Is he her father figure, her future lover, her teacher or all three? Slick, smooth and ridiculously engaging (but also slightly uncomfortable), Léon: The Professional is probably Besson's most popular movie in America, and it'll always be known as the film that helped launch Portman's career.
Check out the audition below. [via Filmmaker IQ]