Natalie Portman regrets signing petition to free Roman Polanski

Natalie Portman admits it was a 'mistake' to sign a petition campaigning for Roman Polanski's release from Swiss custody in 2009.

FILE: US actress Natalie Portman. Picture:

LOS ANGELES - Natalie Portman "regrets" signing a petition to release Roman Polanski from Swiss custody.

The _Black Swan _actress admitted it was a "mistake" backing the campaign to set free the 84-year-old filmmaker after he was arrested for an old warrant relating to the rape of a 13-year-old girl, but she agreed to get involved after being asked by someone she "respected".

She told Buzzfeed: "I very much regret it. I take responsibility for not thinking about it enough.

"Someone I respected gave it to me, and said, 'I signed this. Will you, too?' And I was like, 'Sure.' It was a mistake."

But the 36-year-old actress has learned lessons from the controversy the petition caused.

She added: "The thing I feel like I gained from it is empathy towards people who have made mistakes. We lived in a different world, and that doesn't excuse anything. But you can have your eyes opened and completely change the way you want to live. My eyes were not open."

Portman, who has been heavily involved in the Time's Up anti-harassment campaign, also dismissed questions about another controversial filmmaker, Woody Allen - who she worked with on Everyone Says I Love You - when asked if his time was up because of allegations he sexually molested his daughter, Dylan Farrow, insisting the "conversation" should be directed elsewhere.

She said: "I don't think that's what the conversation should be about.

"I think it should be about: Why didn't Elaine May make a movie every year? Why didn't Nora Ephron make a movie every year? Where's the female version of Bill Cosby? Why don't we see any Asian women in films? There's so much art that's being lost by not giving opportunities to women and people of colour.

"Let's not talk about what man's career is over. Let's talk about the vast art trove we've lost by not giving women, people of colour, people with disabilities, and the LGBTQ+ community opportunities -- let's talk about that loss for all of us in art.

"Let's talk about that huge hole in our culture. I don't want to talk about 'Isn't it sad that this person who's made 500 movies can't make movies anymore?' That's not for me to decide. And it's also not what I'm upset about."

Portman wasn't the only famous face to sign the petition campaigning for the "immediate release" of Polanski - who fled the US before his sentencing after pleading guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor in 1977 - as the likes of directors Martin Scorsese, David Lynch and Darren Aronofsky, also put their names to the cause.