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Natalie Portman replies “what?!” and makes a face when asked about the rumors of Brothers co-star Jake Gyllenhaal’s split from Reese Witherspoon during the Gotham Independent Film Awards held Monday at NYC’s Cipriani Wall Street.

Moments earlier, the actress is gushing about Maggie’s brother.

Jake is amazing,” the Proenza Schouler-clad starlet, 28, says. “He’s fun, spontaneous, funny and charismatic by the ton. He’s really always different every take. It’s very exciting.”

How did the Harvard-educated actress prepare for her role in the war drama?

“I was able to speak to many military wives, which was very informative,” she says. “We had a great rehearsal period for us with Jake and Tobey where we got to go through the scenes and talk about them – what we wanted different.”

Receiving a career tribute tonight marks a highlight in her life.

“Oh! It’s really amazing,” she tells me. “ I’m humbled to be among these peers and in New York, um — and to get this is really amazing.”

What does she love about making independent films?

“There’s an energy you get from not having a lot of time because you have to shoot so quickly and you are constantly moving,” she says. “There’s a great energy you get from that whereas on big films you can upwards spend days on a single scene.”

When Natalie’s not working, she can be found tooling around town in sweat pants and visiting her favorite vegan joints. “[I like] Counter, Taim – it really isn’t vegetarian, but it has great vegetarian dishes – Josie’s Uptown, Angelica Kitchen, Liquiteria.”

But the one thing she can’t avoid is holiday anxiety. “I’m very stressed out,” she says.

Whoops, it’s time for Natalie to head inside to be honored in front of an audience that includes Brooke Shields, Alec Baldwin, Bill Hader, Kristen Wiig, Ryan Reynolds, Chris Rock, Patricia Clarkson, Sam Rockwell, Stanley Tucci and Shohreh Aghdashloo.

Brothers is in theaters December 4.

Psst. Those are my black fingerless gloves and purple sweater in the photo. Weird eh?

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