To submit requests for assistance, or provide feedback regarding accessibility, please contact

Arts & Entertainment

Developing Your Character's Physicality

Natalie Portman

Lesson time 10:00 min

To develop your character, you will need to use your body. Natalie teaches you how to find the right movements and physical exercises, as well as how to use wardrobe and makeup, to embody the role.

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.
Get Started

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.

So enjoyable; One of my favorite classes - No arrogance, solid advice. If a person could chose their family, she would totally be my sister.

Good insights with practical tips and useful tools.

I'm an engineer and I have always admired Natalie Portman. To see her breakdown how she prepares for a role and then explain how she executes it is so awesome. It actually tracks similarly to how engineers think. Great class!

Loved this class and all of Natalie's insights and tips and tools and her genuine respect for the art of acting <3


A fellow student

Again Natalie has given me so much to consider in developing the character. Paying attention to the physicality of the individual has risen on my radar screen.

Stuart G.

Brilliant, delivering lines of a script is the easy part the hard part is your movement and interaction with the other performers on stage. Actors need direction from the Director and you don't always get that especially in Community Theatre. I really like how Natalie goes over all that.

A fellow student

My New Years resolution for 2020 was to work on body awareness and movement, so I'm really glad that physicality was included in the course!

Inge V.

I like that she gives so many examples. It makes it easier to understand. Here are my notes: - “The way you move with your body is such a big part of expressing the character’s personality—expressing their emotion and expressing the way they enter the world.” Emotions decide a character’s physicality so you should show that in how the character moves with her body. - “Sometimes the physicality will be in the given circumstances of the character (i.e. if they are a ballet dancer); but if it’s not, look for something physical to help further your understanding of them and how they operate in the world. This can be as simple as incorporating a type of exercise that you feel would be aligned with your character’s personality.” The type of body movement expresses the emotion of the character. - “Let your character’s emotion or mood inform your posture and movement within your scenes. Your walk may be different depending on what you’re trying to do in that scene and how you want to be perceived by the other characters in the scene.” What your character wants out of a situation is going to influence their physicality and movement. With what part of the body does your character lead? How does your character want people to look and react to them? - “Wardrobe and makeup can help you connect with your character in a deeper way. Clothing and shoes will affect your posture, your movement, and even how you breathe (think: corsets). Let these details help fill out your character sketch as you delve deeper into your character development.” What your character wears will influence their physicality. Hair, make-up, and wardrobe makes you feel like you are the character.

Sergio Martin C.

I like how she gives that importance to the in-between moments, for some people those are dead moments and it is kind of difficult to understand what to do. Also how important is to understand the psychology of the character how interacts with others, the camera, the movements. I also liked the anecdote when he talks about Jackie's high heels in the cemetery.

Michael J.

We are really lucky with the opportunity to learn from a World class Actress who is also a so good teacher .... The lessons are quite interesting. Learning strong fundamentals is a key point in any teaching. Thanks a lot Natalie

Tiffany P.

Developing a character that is completely different to who you normally are as a person can be really challenging. In this lesson, Natalie Portman guides you to have a different understanding of how you can go about getting comfortable with the " new you". Movements, body language, style, and make-up are one of the most important parts of forming your character.

Martin T.

Loving Nat's comments re her nails in Vox Lux and her Jackie O's heels.. Brilliant character details. Cheers Natalie.

George C.

I really like how Natalie is in row of seats, it's really comforting and makes it feel like we're part of a discussion. Great start to your masterclass. I hope to work with you one day.

Dan U.

Nathalie Portman’s teachings should be studied on a repeated basis as much of it carries over to other artistic endeavors such as writing novels, short stories and music genres.she is very clearly in the least very knowledgeable especially for her age and very pleasant....maybe even beautiful in a cautious sense. Her creativity and understanding of her craft is most impressive again for her years. She is dynamite working with gifted actors and directors and others that seek to guide actors. Let’s find out more.