Natalie Portman.
Natalie Portman. Photo by AP
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Ilan Assayag
Amos Oz: Not pleased with the direction Israel is headed in. Photo by Ilan Assayag

Oscar-winning Jerusalem-born actress Natalie Portman is expected to direct and star in a film adaptation of Israeli author Amos Oz's novel "A Tale of Love and Darkness," which will be shot in Israel in the near future.

A report six years ago revealed that Portman was interested in making her directing debut with Oz’s story, and planned to film it in Hebrew. Now that movie is finally expected to go into production in Israel, the Jerusalem Film and Television Fund announced.

This week, the Fund approved NIS 1.6 million to support the film, the highest amount it has ever pledged for a single movie. "A Tale of Love and Darkness" is an American-Israeli co-production, and will be produced by Ram Bergman, Eli Shirmor and David Mandil. The screenplay was written by Portman.

The official synopsis of the movie plot describes it as a "movie adaptation of Amos Oz’s autobiography, which takes place in Jerusalem in the second half of the 1940s and focuses on the author’s childhood in light of his mother’s mental illness and his father’s helplessness; in the context of the historic events of the period."

The filming is scheduled to begin January and February in Jerusalem, and Portman is expected to play the author’s mother. Since the action takes place in the 1940s, it will require the proper costumes and scenery for the period.

Portman is expected to remain in Israel for the period of the filming but will also come to visit earlier to take part in the preparations. It has not yet been decided whether the movie will be filmed in Hebrew, as Portman promised in the past.

The Jerusalem Film Fund will also invest NIS 3.19 million in five other Israeli film projects. In total, the Fund received 114 applications for projects and 11 were approved with funding, a total of NIS 6 million.