Why the rush, Natalie? Portman flees Sydney days before new draconian lockdown laws are enforced – after abruptly dropping out of new movie for ‘personal reasons’
- The actress, 40, jetted home to Los Angeles amid growing fears over harsher lockdown rules being introduced in New South Wales
- Natalie left Australia after abruptly dropping out of HBO Films’ Days of Abandonment for ‘personal reasons’ last week
- Two weeks ago, Sydney entered full lockdown for the first time in more than a year to fight the Delta variant
Natalie Portman fled Sydney with her family as she boarded a flight back to Los Angeles on Thursday morning shortly before new draconian lockdown rules are set to be enforced.
The actress, 40, left Australia after abruptly dropping out of HBO Films’ Days of Abandonment for ‘personal reasons’.
She made the announcement in a statement last week, which came just days after Sydney entered full lockdown for the first time in more than a year to fight the Delta variant.
And she’s off! Natalie Portman fled Sydney with her family as she boarded a flight back to Los Angeles on Thursday shortly before new draconian lockdown rules are set to be enforced
On Thursday afternoon, the actress and her family were spotted making their way onto a huge aircraft in Sydney, ready for a 14-hour flight back to their home in Los Angeles.
The actress and her husband Benjamin Millepied had been pictured hours earlier packing up their rented property in Vaucluse, before they took their children Aleph, nine, and Amalia, four, in a limousine to the airport.
Before getting on the plane, Natalie was seen carrying her young daughter in her arms while her husband and son walked ahead in front.
She kept a low-profile in a navy jumper, grey trackpants and a black sun hat, and wore a protective mask on her face.
Heading home: In the pictures, Natalie was seen carrying her young daughter in her arms while her husband and son walked ahead in front
Filmmaker Benjamin, 44, dressed casually in a black T-shirt, sweatpants, an orange cap and a face mask.
Natalie’s departure comes after she abruptly pulled out of her new movie Days of Abandonment for ‘unforeseen personal reasons’ on August 2.
The move effectively put a stop to production, as the project was left without a lead actress – one day before filming was set to commence.
Journey: The 40-year-old and her husband Benjamin Millepied had been pictured hours earlier packing up their home in Vaucluse, before they took their children Aleph, nine, and Amalia, four, in a limousine to the airport
‘Due to unforeseen personal reasons, Natalie Portman has stepped down from HBO’s Days of Abandonment prior to the start of filming,’ HBO said in a statement.
‘Unfortunately, the production will not move forward. We are very sorry we won’t be able to bring this beautiful story to the screen with our talented writer/director and cast.
‘We send our sincere thanks to our cast, producers, and crew for all their passion and hard work.’
Move: Natalie, her husband and their two children had relocated Down Under in September last year ahead of her filming Thor: Love and Thunder in Sydney
Natalie was also set to executive produce the film, based on the best-selling novel by Elena Ferrante.
The film had been in pre-production, and centred around a woman named Tess, who abandoned her own dreams in favour of maintaining a stable home life, only for her husband to walk out on her.
The Federal Government had committed $3.4million to the project as part of its location incentive program, while Communication Minister Paul Fletcher had said he expected the production to generate more than $25million for the local economy.
While it’s not known what ‘personal reasons’ prevented her from going ahead with the film, Natalie has deleted the majority of posts from her Instagram account.
Speculation: There were even rumours the Israeli-born actress was looking to make Australia her permanent home, after she and Benjamin inspected properties in Sydney this year
Natalie, her husband and their two children had relocated Down Under in September last year ahead of her filming Thor: Love and Thunder in Sydney.
There were even rumours the Israeli-born actress was looking to make Australia her permanent home, after she and Benjamin inspected properties in Sydney this year.
THE CHANGES COMING TO SYDNEY’S LOCKDOWN
- A ban on Sydneysiders travelling to second residences intrastate
- Greater policing powers to ensure compliance within singles bubbles
- More ADF troops deployed across the city to help police the public health orders
However she made a swift return to the States on Thursday, just beating even tighter lockdown rules that are set to come into force.
On Wednesday, it was revealed that sweeping changes are coming to Sydney’s lockdown as police were given 48 hours to redraft the public health orders to bring the city’s spiralling Covid crisis under control.
Commissioner Fuller and Police Minister David Elliott told a crisis cabinet meeting the orders are proving difficult to enforce, and greater powers are needed to tackle Sydney’s climbing case numbers.
NSW Police and their legal team have been discussing amendments that will enable them to hone in on rule-breakers and breaches in virus hotspots.
The revisions are expected to include a ban on residents travelling to their second properties, such as beach houses, a bigger ADF presence, and heavier policing of singles bubbles to ensure only two people are coming into contact.
Police have been changing a rule that permits locked-down Sydneysiders to move between residences will stem the spread of Covid into regional areas.
Love: Natalie Portman and her husband Benjamin Millepied married in 2012 and share two children together; Aleph, nine, and Amalia, four
Meanwhile, modifications to single bubbles – which allow two who both live alone to visit each others’ houses – will make it easier for police to check compliance.
Some 80 per cent of people living across New South Wales are in lockdown with 6.6 million affected.
The NSW Government is also expected to request more ADF troops to help oversee the orders.
The announcement came a day after Premier of New South Wales Gladys Berejiklian insisted she would not introduce harsher lockdown measures unless they have a proven impact on virus transmission.
There have been mounting calls for tougher measures as infection numbers in NSW have remained stubbornly high despite an increasingly tight lockdown, particularly in Sydney’s west and southwest.
Sydney and surrounds are in lockdown until at least August 28, while the Hunter, Byron Bay, Armidale and Tamworth are enduring snap lockdowns.
EVERYWHERE IN NSW LIVING UNDER COVID LOCKDOWNS
There are about 6.6 million NSW residents now living under stay-at-home orders, which represents about 80 per cent of the state.
These regions include:
– All of Greater Sydney including the Central Coast, Blue Mountains, Wollongong and Shellharbour
– Dubbo LGA including the suburbs of Dubbo, Wellington, Wongarbon, Geurie, Brocklehurst, Stuart Town, Mumbil and Eumungerie
– The Central West region including Bogan, Bourke, Brewarrina, Coonamble, Gilgandra, Narromine, Walgett and Warren LGAs
– Hunter and Upper Hunter including Newcastle, Cessnock, Dungog, Lake Macquarie, Maitland, Muswellbrook, Port Stephens and Singleton LGAs
– Armidale LGA (including Guyra)
– Tamworth LGA
– The Northern Rivers region including Ballina, Byron, City of Lismore and Richmond Valley LGAs
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