Natalie Portman has been watching Westerns as research for 'Jane Got a Gun'.

The 32-year-old actress - who stars as lead Jane Hammond - is excited that the new American movie will star a female protagonist and has been immersing herself in old Westerns to make sure she gets a feel for cowboy culture.

She explained: ''I love Westerns and you don't often get one with a great female protagonist, so this is very exciting. Plus I had a great excuse to watch a lot of old Westerns as research.''

The brunette beauty watched Fred Zinnemann's 1952 flick 'High Noon' and award-winning Irish-American director John Ford's hit films to help her prepare.

She told HELLO! magazine: ''I saw 'High Noon' and all the John Ford movies - It was great fun.''

'Jane Got a Gun' centres on a woman who turns to her gunman ex-lover to protect her husband from an outlaw gang. Starring alongside Natalie will be Ewan McGregor and Jude Law, while the film is being directed by Gavin O'Connor.