Actress Natalie Portman has said that appearing in the Star Wars prequels almost ruined her career.

The 33-year-old Oscar-winning Black Swan actress insists that the sci-fi movie almost cost her other acting gigs, but credits the late director Mike Nichols with getting her more roles.

Speaking to NY Magazine, Portman said, "Star Wars had come out around the time of Seagull, and everyone thought I was a horrible actress.

"I was in the biggest-grossing movie of the decade, and no director wanted to work with me.

"Mike wrote a letter to Anthony Minghella and said, 'Put her in Cold Mountain, I vouch for her'. And then Anthony passed me on to Tom Tykwer, who passed me on to the Wachowskis."

Mike Nichols passed away last month of a cardiac arrest. He was 83.