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Jennifer Lopez is replaced by Natalie Portman in "Love"

Jennifer Lopez is replaced by Natalie Portman in "Love"

Natalie Portman is falling in love — and salvaging quiet little films along the way. According to Variety, Portman is set to star in “Love and Other Impossible Pursuits” alongside Scott Cohen and Charlie Tahan. She will play a young woman named Emelia, who must cope with the loss of her infant daughter, while trying to raise her gifted five-year-old stepson, William, and salvage her rocky marriage. The film will be directed by Don Roos for Incentive Filmed Entertainment, and is based on the novel by Ayelet Waldman.

The role originally belonged to Jennifer Lopez, who’s abrupt departure nearly destroyed the film altogether. Portman rescued the film by taking the lead not only onscreen, but behind the scenes — she’s executive producing the film under her banner, Handsomecharlie Films.

David Molner, head of Incentive, can’t say enough about Portman for backing the film. “We were left in the lurch by one actress and rescued by another,” he told the trade. “It goes to show that, particularly with independent features, nothing is more important than the talent. It’s a blessing that Natalie loved the script and now we’ve got a strong film that we can sell.”

This should be a meaty role for Portman, as Emilia is a prickly and unlikeable character, a contrast from many of the roles she’s played in the past. Her progress from precocious “Star Wars” heroine to Hollywood power player has been an exciting one — and hopefully, this will be one of many indie films she’ll carry to the finish line.

For all those in love with Portman — can you handle seeing her as an unlikeable heroine, or do you wish she would stick to playing dream girlfriends? Are you intrigued by her taking on more work behind the scenes, or do you wish she would stay in front of the camera?

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