Natalie Portman to direct first film in Jerusalem

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 20: Actress Natalie Portman attends Benjamin Millepied's L.A. Dance Project Inaugural Benefit Gala on June 20, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images) Alberto E. Rodriguez

Natalie Portman is heading to Israel to direct her first feature film, based on an autobiographical novel by celebrated Israeli writer Amos Oz.

Yoram Honig of the Jerusalem Film Fund and a publicist for the film said Wednesday that Portman, who was born in Jerusalem, wrote the screenplay and will also star in the movie as Oz's troubled mother.

They say Portman is to arrive in October in Israel to cast local actors. The movie will be filmed in Jerusalem in early 2014.

It's not decided if the film will be shot in Hebrew or English. Honig's fund is providing $400,000.

The movie is based on Oz's 2002 autobiography, "A Tale of Love and Darkness," about his youth during Israel's founding years.

The publicist spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the project.

Portman will appear next in the upcoming sequel "Thor: The Dark World," which is being released in November. She and dancer/choreographer Benjamin Millepied -- who are parents to 2-year-old son Aleph -- married last August in California. In January, Millepied was named director of the Paris Opera Ballet.

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