Vox Lux follows a young woman named Celeste from her teenage years as an overnight pop sensation through her attempted comeback nearly 20 years later, focusing on three stages of her life and career.
Natalie Portman plays Celeste in her later years, as she attempts to revitalize her career with a new album and tour she hopes will put her back on top. To do so she also has to deal with the years of personal and professional issues that have built up and try to overcome the scandal that derailed her stardom in the first place.
Portman is on stage in full makeup and with a microphone attached to her on the first poster, essentially reusing a promotional image for the key art here. Aside from a blurb from an early review there’s nothing but the title and the credits as the studio hopes to make the flashy visual of the Bowie-esque performer the key message conveyed to the audience.
The first trailer starts off with Celeste being interviewed about her new music after what we hear are a rough few years. Throughout the trailer we see her dealing – sometimes well and sometimes not so well – with the trappings of fame, offering an inspirational message to her audience while also falling down from apparent excess. There are plenty of hints at danger offered as masked gunmen walk through a building/home and it’s clear there will be drama in the mother/daughter relationship as well.
That looks incredibly off-kilter and lots of fun. You get some of the story but really what’s being sold here is a look and feel more than anything, all centered around Portman’s performance.
The second trailer, released just a couple weeks ago, shows more of Celeste’s beginnings and the path she took to stardom. She’s shown to be a Madonna-like performer who’s facing a lot of obstacles, some of her own making, as she fights for what she feels is hers.
That trailer served not just to sell the movie but also the original song performed by Sia that’s part of the story. It also shows a bit more of the relationship between Celeste and her manager, played by Jude Law.
Online and Social
All the usual material can be found on NEON’s official website for the movie along with a collection of “Social Assets,” clips and GIFs that can be downloaded and shared elsewhere. There are also links to the Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages.
Advertising and Cross-Promotions
If there’s been paid promotions done by NEON I haven’t seen them. It’s highly unlikely there’s been nothing done on this front but nothing that’s crossed my radar.
Media and Publicity
The movie was announced as one of those screening at the Venice Film Festival, news that came shortly before a first look at Portman in the movie was released. First look photos came out a bit after that, before the announcement it would screen at the Toronto Film Festival. A short bit of teaser footage featuring Portman was released via Vanity Fair before Venice got underway.
Both festival screenings generated significant positive buzz for the movies, particularly Portman’s performance in it. The actress was interviewed about the logistics of shooting the movie, what she felt was attractive in the role and more around that time.
The reception at Toronto generated some awards speculation while Portman and the rest of the cast talked about the political nature of the story while director Brady Corbet shared what inspired him to make the movie. NEON bought distribution rights during the festival.
The movie was added to the lineup of the Austin Film Festival, where it was programmed as the opening night feature. A screening at AFI Fest was followed by a Q&A where Portman and Corbet talked about the themes of the story and more, including how Corbet compared Celeste to Kanye West.
Portman was the subject of a wide-ranging cover story in Vanity Fair that had her talking about the movie as well as a wealth of other topics, all accompanied by suitably glamorous photos of the actress. She was also interviewed about what drew her to the project and how it fits into her career to date and how the movie allowed her to fulfill a pop star dream while Corbet talked about how casting her really helped bring the story into focus.
Portman is, of course, the main draw here as she’s the one who has to anchor the story and sell the egotistical singer she plays in some kind of reality. The campaign makes sure to keep her in front of the camera, showing the kind of range she has to draw on to make Celeste a whole person, not just a caricature.
While the story is at times hard to discern from the campaign, that’s actually kind of the point as the confusion that’s created helps to sell it as a strange, otherworldly experience that itself is a metaphor for stardom.
Picking Up The Spare
Borget was profiled and interviewed again about how he wanted the story to reflect the attitudes and personality of a generation. Both he and Portman jointly talked about how the story is about the trappings of modern celebrity.
Portman has made the media rounds in the weeks following the movie’s released, with appearances on “Late Night” and “The Tonight Show,” often focusing on the song of Sia’s she performed. She and Law also did one of Wired’s fun search-related videos.