Film & TV

Active Empathy

Natalie Portman

Lesson time 02:50 min

In her final lesson, Natalie encourages you to see acting as an exercise in empathy. As you step into your character’s shoes, she encourages you to be playful, not worry about making mistakes, and have fun above all else.

Natalie Portman
Teaches Acting
Oscar-winning actor Natalie Portman shares the techniques at the heart of her acting process—and teaches you how to tackle your next role.
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Make every role extraordinary

Natalie Portman began acting professionally at 12 and won an Oscar before she turned 30. As a self-taught actor, she uses personal techniques to create compelling, complex characters. In her first-ever acting class, Natalie shows how empathy is at the core of every great performance, how to bring real-life details into every role, and how to build your own creative process. Get ready for your breakout performance.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

Loved it. Wish there were more sessions on set.

I really enjoyed the Master Class with Natalie Portman. I'm embarking on a new journey as an actor and this was my first acting lessons ever! I really appreciate the expert advice and insight. I feel that I will be a lot less nervous now at my first real in person acting class, I feel this course has put me more at ease with what to expect. Great job!

Learning the insights of the business and a working actor is incredible as it is something an institute will not teach. It has more power because it comes from a voice with experience. Thank you so much for making me believe it is possible even though I do not have an education in acting.

I've completed a few master classes and this was the best. Natalie shares so much information, very detailed and she is so clearly passionate about what she does, but wanting to really benefit others also. Very inspiring!


Katie M.

Beautifully said. Many people presume that Actors are attention seekers (and some are) but mostly Actors are givers who want to make their audience feel good. This in itself is the Art of Empathy.

Douglas S.

Great course! I learned so much in these videos! Thank you, Natalie. Look forward to working with you one day ;)

Luis P.

I love this so much. This is exactly what made me want to become an actor in the first place. I've felt alone most of my life, and I wanted to help other people feel less alone through a character that they can relate to. It's something really great to keep in mind when I start to get discouraged.

Rodalyn E.

Hi Natalie, I picked you as my online mentor with great belief that I can learn and take away useful tips as I commenced my acting career. Very helpful indeed. Who would you recommend best to develop, explore and realized my interesting real life story where You and I would be playing most important role? +447963310367. . I wish you can get in touch. @emperadolove. FB :RodalynLoveEmperado . Beamodels. Its time to unleash the truth and share this extraordinary life story of mine. Take aways: Beautiful moments. Keeping spaces. Improvization. Research. Freedom to invent. Will definitely work on assignments. Mapping out chronologies. Listening. Reacting appropriately. Interpreting lines. Talking with co staff. Demo is very helpful. Green screen acting/generated effects are cool/action sequences. Figure out beats of emotions . Envisioning around you. Be an advocate for others. Thank you for all of these. Im definitely coachable. I look forward to be working with you one day. Rodalyn Emperado

Eena B.

Beautiful...all of it. Contributed to me in so many different delicious ways. Thank You Natalie for You

Allison K.

Really enjoyed this one. There are a few things I plan to give a try/put to use in the future.

Mia S.

"Be free. Make mistakes. Play. Remember that this is a playful job. This is a job about your imagination. You just try things, and that's how you develop your art and your work."

Mia S.

"I committed to acting probably after college. I think when I was in school, I was always kind of thinking, 'Oh, I might do something else, I don't know.' And then I think I realized after school was, 'Oh, what I loved at 11 was a sort of reading of my true self. That was what I really genuinely was into and not what the world was telling me I was supposed to be interested in. I came from a background that was like, 'You have to be serious, you haveto do something serious and meaningful and doing good for other people. I didn't really understand how acting fit into that. And then slowly over time I kind of understood - first of all, I need to seek my own joy and my own pleasure and this is what gives me joy; second of all, I do find meaning in it because I think that it's imagining someone else's inner life. It's the act of empathy. That is what we do. We say, 'I wonder what that person feels and thinks and goes through on their daily basis.' And if you go into the world that way, thinking about how other people feel, that is active empathy. And also that the experience people get when they're in a movie theater, that you're sharing this social experience with other people for two hours, caring about someone else's life. And that's an incredible and important thing to participate in as a society and as a community and probably why things like theater have always been part of human culture. Acting is unlike other arts, because you're not sitting alone, painting in a room; you're not playing an instrument by yourself. You are working with an orchestra, and a lot of the joy and the activity comes from bouncing off of other people and working with other people."

Franco Maria G.

her reserved femininity Portman teaches non only a lot of things about acting but she offers a kind manner of being actor. I like this woman and her reserved femininity.

Ryan G.

I don't even know what to say! I came here to learn more about acting for film. I learned more than I expected I would. I will continue to pursue my dream of acting for film by learning more about the subject! Thank you so much MasterClass & Natalie Portman for this amazing oppurtunity!