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Queen Amidala Missed 1st Star Wars

May 10, 1999

NEW YORK (AP) _ Natalie Portman was far from a ``Star Wars″ fan when she landed the role of Queen Amidala in the latest installment.

``I was born in Israel and I lived there for my first three years,″ said the 17-year-old Long Islander. ``By the time I got to the United States, all the films had already come out. So I missed it the first time around.″

Portman plays a queen who resists invasion of her country in ``Star Wars: Episode I _ The Phantom Menace.″

She said Sunday that she plays a ``strong female character that’s really good for girls. She has this unembarrassed idealism.″

Portman also appeared in ``The Professional.″

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