Natalie Portman hasn't picked her romantic partners well, at least on screen. She played a teen abandoned in a strange town by the guy who impregnated her in ''Where the Heart Is,'' and in the ''Star Wars'' movies, the guy she falls for turns out to be Darth Vader. Her streak may continue in ''The Smoker,'' a romance that Paramount is developing for her to star in, according to the Hollywood Reporter. She'd play a senior at a girls' boarding school who sets her sights on one of her professors. Betty Thomas (''I Spy,'' ''The Brady Bunch Movie'') will direct.
''Smoker'' is based a story by David Schickler, himself a private school teacher, who launched his fiction career with the story when it was published in the New Yorker magazine three years ago. In the movie, the young woman invites the instructor home to dinner because she has decided to marry him, not for love, but because she thinks he'd make the ideal match. Her wacky parents only encourage the idea. Don't most schools have rules against this sort of fraternization?