'Black Swan' director Darren Aronofsky defends Natalie Portman in body-double controversy

black-swan-aronofsky

Image Credit: Niko Tavernise

Responding to claims that Black Swan star Natalie Portman didn’t do the majority of her on-screen dancing in her Oscar-winning role, director Darren Aronofsky released the following statement through studio Fox Searchlight:

“Here is the reality. I had my editor count shots. There are 139 dance shots in the film. 111 are Natalie Portman untouched. 28 are her dance double Sarah Lane. If you do the math that’s 80% Natalie Portman. What about duration? The shots that feature the double are wide shots and rarely play for longer than one second. There are two complicated longer dance sequences that we used face replacement. Even so, if we were judging by time over 90% would be Natalie Portman.

And to be clear Natalie did dance on pointe in pointe shoes. If you look at the final shot of the opening prologue, which lasts 85 seconds, and was danced completely by Natalie, she exits the scene on pointe. That is completely her without any digital magic. I am responding to this to put this to rest and to defend my actor. Natalie sweated long and hard to deliver a great physical and emotional performance. And I don’t want anyone to think that’s not her they are watching. It is.”

Last Friday, ballerina Sarah Lane told EW that Portman only danced 5 percent of the full-body shots in the film. She also claimed that one of the film’s producers asked her not to speak publicly about her work during Oscar season. Lane’s comments came after Black Swan choreographer (and Portman fiancé) Benjamin Millepied told the L.A. Times that Natalie did “85 percent” of the dancing in the film. Lane could not be immediately reached for comment regarding Aronofsky’s statement.

Read more:
‘Black Swan’ double claims Natalie Portman only did ‘5 percent’ of

‘Black Swan’ controversy: ‘Natalie herself did most of the dancing
Natalie Portman: Does pregnancy help her Oscar chances? | Inside

Comments (329 total) Add your comment
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  • Angie

    Seems hard to argue with the numbers…

    • AK

      It also seems hard to believe she became a proficient dancer on pointe in just a year of training…

      • Jacob

        If memory serves, Natalie had taken ballet as a child, thus there was some prior experience besides the year and a half of training. Not that that would make her super proficient, but I don’t think Darren would flat out lie, especially with the film coming out on DVD soon for all to see and figure out the numbers themselves…

      • Wottadoosh

        Yeah, everyone knows that training for a year does nothing for form.

      • sarah

        She has almost 8 years of dance training from when she was younger, so it isn’t that hard to believe.

      • Bob

        Doesn’t matter how hard it is for you personally to believe. If he’s accurately reported the shot count, then those numbers are tough to argue with.

      • cattyfan

        If they really want to debunk the rumor, after she’s had her baby, have Natalie make an appearance on a show and demonstrate the vast knowledge and skill she managed to gather in her year of training.

      • MF

        She danced until she was 13. Most girls go on pointe between ages 11 and 13, and much of her work was simple things that you can in fact learn in a year, especially if she had any ballet foundation. Take this from a dancer for 20 years. It’s completely plausible and probable.

      • Quirky

        @AK (and other doubters) Portman wasn’t training for 5 to 10 minute long stage performances. She only needed to know the skills neccessary for shorter movie shoots. For the film, she likely danced only quick 20 second segments. Then the crew would reset the cameras for another quick segment and so on and so on. Then everything is cut together in editing to seem like a long seamless performance. It’s not much difference then movie fight scenes. For the Fighter, Mark Wahlberg trained enough to get in shape and box well enough for the fight scenes but I seriously doubt he could step into the ring and last 10 rounds in an actual professional boxing match.

      • Reality

        Come on guys, did you really expect Darren to say otherwise? This is Hollywood. If he badmouthed a Jew (Portman), he’d never work again in Hollywood.

      • Reality – get a life

        Reality – are you for real? “Bad mouth a Jew”? What are you 15 years old? It is a simple dispute between an actor and a stunt/body double. We saw it with Flashdance a million years ago. Keep your paranoia to yourself.

      • Anne

        Natalie is a trained dancer, so one year would have been plenty of time to get back into shape. Dancing en pointe is difficult and requires strong legs and feet. For a small light dancer it would be easier than for a tall heavier dancer.

      • KL

        If it was all so plausible, how come all the real shots of Portman were from the shoulders up?

      • Ryan

        @Quirky im betting Mark Walhberg could fight realistically. He trained every day since 2005 for his role in The Fighter (Since hes been trying to get it made). He wanted to make sure he stayed in shape…so i bet he got pretty good

      • Kari

        AK – I’ve been a ballerina most of my life, and I learned pointe in less than a year. It takes a lot of hard work and talent, and she obivously put in the time and has the talent. Until you know what you’re talking about, keep quiet.

      • Jane

        No way can Portman become a world class dancer in one year. I don’t care how hard she worked- it’s a craft that needs honing over many years. Aronofsky defending her just seems like complete hubris on his part. It’s not enough that Portman got an Oscar- must she also steal someone else’s thunder too? Give Lane a break and thank her for her work.

      • Gabe

        Everyone, no one said Portman has become a “world class dancer”, that is of course entirely not realistic. However, it is realistic that she learned the moves NECESSARY FOR THE FILM within a year. Since she had a foundation, all she had to do was work on and perfect the moves that she would need to do. Also, as Quirky said, it’s not like she was dancing a full ballet, she just did her segments in takes, then the camera would be reset, etc.

      • RAD

        Quirky sums it up pretty nicely. Additionally, Ms Portman didn’t have to get each and every dance sequence perfect the first time as if she were doing a live performance. Come on, if she didn’t get it exactly right they would reshoot the scene until they had the shot they wanted. Why is everyone busting her chops about this? Portman did a fantastic job! Lets move on.

      • pickle t1ts

        Wow… What a bunch of C U N T Y haters.

      • Liz

        I read an article that stated that Natalie Portman trained for about 6 hours a day, 6 days a week, and also had prior training.

      • LOL

        @wottadoosh and all those seemingly hell bent on discrediting Natalie Portman, and now Aronofsky… Perhaps correct form cannot be attained in a single year. However, if you knew anything about… well, anything, you’d also know that that year Natalie spent training wasn’t the first and only time that she has ever danced. That’s just a known fact about Portman. Just saying…

      • LOL

        @quirky makes another very good point. All you doubters make it seem like all those involved with the film are trying to convince and pass off Natalie’s dancing as these long, drawn-out, complicated dance numbers when in reality, as traditional filmmaking usually goes, it was all undoubtedly just countless takes and shots at many different angles all cut together through something they call “EDITING”… You all heard of that? Apparently not. And lastly, @JANE… the double who’s complaining should know her place. She signed their contract and is/was deserved NOTHING that she hasn’t already received. This dancer crying foul knew EXACTLY how she’d be credited. Contracts 101 fool, how one is credit is explicitly stated in the contract. So those of you siding with Lane saying that she’s been shorted are just ignorant to how the film industry and making a film runs… Keep your stupidity to yourselves.

      • @Jacob

        Natalie has said she took classes in tap, jazz and ballet for a couple of years as a kid. Ballet was what she took the least of. She didn’t learn to dance on pointe as a child.
        *
        @Kari, Portman worked part-time for a little over a year for the film. She hadn’t danced in over 16 years, and basically started from the beginning. As someone who has taken ballet classes for years, I can say that it’s impossible for someone to become a proficient dancer in their late 20’s in that amount of time.
        Portman had age and lack of training time against her, and should be thanking her dance double for making her look good.

      • @LOL

        Sarah Lane has said that she was surprised and disappointed when she saw the film credits and saw she wasn’t credited as Portman’s dance double. She said her contract did not specify what her credit would be, but that from what she was told she believed she would be credited as Portman’s dance double.

      • AK

        @Kari: I’m a ballet dancer, too! Hence my general disbelief in Aronofsky’s claims. The rudeness of your statement is definite unnecessary (but the irony was sublime).

      • SarJES

        I AGREE! And the FACT IS SHE DIDN’T become a professional dancer in a year. That’s the impression the studio wanted to project and it’s why Sarah Lane got so upset about it. IT’S DEMEANING TO THE BALLET PROFESSION TO SUGGEST/IMPLY SHE BECAME A BALLERINA IN A YEAR.
        She did do a good job on the film, WAS IT WORTH AN OSCAR? Well, that’s not my call. But people have suggested, IT WASN’T A FILM ABOUT BALLET, IT WAS FILM ABOUT REACHING PERFECTION. If it was a film about ballet, there WOULD HAVE BEEN MORE FULL BODY SHOTS that highlighted the BALLET! The film was a closeup of nat’s face for 50% of the movie even in the dance scenes, but it created drama.

      • Tony

        Wow, if you want simple human ignorance and stupidity come onto an annonymous message board. To all the didiots out there

        1) Not onl did she train 6 hours a day 6 days a week, she PAID for it out of her own pocket since the movie was not a huge draw for most studios and they werent even sure the movie was going to get filmed, she did it to lend credibility to the film ( look we have Natalie Portman and shes training out of he own pocket)

        2) You can get ANYONE to look talented at ANYTHING on screen with enough training. Look at the Matrix, not one of those guys was a martial arts expert, but months of extensive training and choreography gets you there most of the way, and for the rest there are these things called body doubles.

        SO to all the haters, until you can get simple facts straight, and develop a hint of common sense, please pipe down

      • Ryan

        @reality

        please say that was joke. Even if your straight up antisemitic comments were true, Aronofsky would be the
        LAST person to care: he could have everyone in hollywood hate him, his movie could gross less than it cost to make (which several have) and not use a single famous or even professional actor and it would STILL be on every top 10 best of list for that year and his next movie would be financed easier than anything, because any studio wants a piece of cinema HISTORY, which is what Darren will be remembered as, a serious part of cinema history. The man is a complete genius from NYU. IF you mess with HIM you get blacklisted for the SAME reason, period.

      • Wickeddoll

        @”Reality” Not that it matters, but Aronofsky IS Jewish.

      • Amber

        She practiced 5-6 hours a day for SIX days out of the week. Why is it hard to believe? Many who start out as children don’t go en pointe until they’re eleven or twelve, and they probably have classes once or twice a week for an hour, meaning by the time they reach the age to start en pointe, they’ve either had less or about as much practice as Nathalie Portman had.

      • samJ

        Who cares if she did the dancing herself? She did the acting — she wasn’t nominated for the “Best Dancer” Oscar.

    • jess

      that’s assuming the numbers are true and he isn’t just pulling them out of thin air. it’s not like anyone can really contradict him since we can’t just run over to his studio and start counting his film shots…

      • Herro Kitty

        You’re an idiot.

      • Kris

        @Herro Kitty
        Agreed. It’s kind of hilarious that the man behind the film displays the physical numbers and the haters (or Annette Benning fans as I like to call them) are still in denial. Haters gonna hate.

      • BIGboo

        @Jess
        Absolutely agree. Wow – a director who is a part of the Hollywood establishment is going to defend HIS actor and HIS film by saying Natalie did the dances? Shocking! Or not. I’m not taking his claims at face value. He wants to prove it, its gonna take a little more than just his WORD on which shots are of who, and which were not digitally “enhanced.”

      • D’s Advocate

        DVD comes out this week, no? Count ‘em yourself.

      • Beau

        Bigboo, just face it. Aronofsky just kicked your fat azz with his facts. Go cry somewhere else loser.

      • Kevin

        Are people really saying Aronofsky is hiding the truth? This as bad as the damn “birthers.” Look, Natalie worked hard, did most of the work required for the many shots of the film, emphasis on “shots,” no one is saying she danced ALL of Swan Lake: It’s a MOVIE! They do many takes until they get something that works. Yes I feel for Ms Lane, but 5%, seriously? Just be glad you’re part of a fantastic movie and move on.

      • Lois

        Considering that they used special effects to put Portman’s face on Lane’s body, how would you know which shots were really Portman? This all just smacks of a publicity stunt to sell DVDs.

      • @Kris

        Annette Bening fans, LOL.

      • DiMi

        I don’t believe him. Just because somebody throws out some numbers, that doesn’t mean they are telling the truth.

        1. If he really wanted to protect Natalie, he would just isolate the shots of each woman and show us who did what. Then we could see for ourselves. That will never happen because we’ll see Natalie just holding up her arms and the other dancer doing the tough dancing.
        2. If Natalie was such a great dancer, why did we see so few full-body shots. I noticed that throughout the film.
        3. He is not revealing the length of all of the shots of the double, only stating the most were quite short. He is counting on us not understanding that those shorter shots were edited together into longer sequences.

        4. And, he has denied not to mention that some wide shots of the double were much longer than a second; those were the shots of the best and most important dancing in the film during the final sequence. Those were wide shots and that wasn’t Natalie.

    • Jeris

      What? He could make up any numbers he wanted to! Obviously, he’s justifying the big Oscar push they did, much of it based on the fact that she became some kind of phenomenal dancer in a year. I don’t believe anything he says.

      • Herro Kitty

        You’re a retard.

      • Carla

        Exactly! plus, I SAW the ORIGINAL REEL..why they would edit it? The question remains unanswered…Sara still deserves proper credit from Seachlight Fox

      • Pete

        Credit for what? She was hired as a double. No more, no less. She got paid to do it, and I’m sure signed on the dotted line when asked. Now that the film has made millions and millions, she’s become unhappy? You saw an original reel with a few shots in it…not hundreds. Talk about drinking the koolaid

      • LOL

        @Carla, Sara Lane has received all the credit she is due. That’s all stuff that’s stated in the contract that SHE HERSELF signed… SHE agreed to their terms, SHE has to deal with them, even if it means her being “overlooked” for the work she’s done. It’s her fault she signed a contract that didn’t favor her. Chances are she didn’t negotiate a deal that benefitted her in the ways that she now happens to be complaining about… At the end of the day, Fox, Aronofsky, and anyone else involved in the film gave this crybaby dancer all she’s due. And that’s that.

    • Anne

      The thing is, his statement doesn’t really contradict Lane’s, because she said that Natalie only did 5% of the FULL BODY SHOTS. She didn’t say that Natalie only did 5% of all the dancing in the movie. And what I find really sketchy is the fact that the original Black Swan VFX reel on YouTube, which clearly showed several shots detailing how they put Natalie’s head on Lane’s body, has now been re-edited and no head replacements are shown. I dunno, the whole thing is just… sketchy.

      • mark

        It has not been re-edited. I watched it yesterday, and the head replacement thing was still in.
        Furthermore, if Natalie is shown for 90% of the movie then only about 10% could be full body shots and in that case, who really cares if it was her or not, it was obviously fairly insignificant then. Anyways she didn’t win the oscar for her dancing skill, it was for her acting skill.

      • Anne

        @mark
        If you watched it yesterday, than you saw the re-edited version. Friday was the last time that the full version was shown. Multiple blogs posted the video on Friday, and talked about the “see for yourself” factor of the head replacement VFX shots. I saw the original video with the head replacement shots myself, as did many other people. But Fox Searchlight quietly re-edited it over the weekend, and did not replace the original link on YouTube. They also saw to it that any mirror video of the original video was removed for “copyright infringement”. Bottom line: Fox Searchlight re-edited the video, and they are trying to erase all evidence of the original. It was a really classless, sleazy thing to do, and frankly, gives more credibility to Lane’s complaints.

      • Jess

        EXACTLY! He did not contradict that only 5% of the FULL BODY SHOTS were Natalie….

      • Lois

        Anne, you are correct. They did re-edit it to lessen Lane’s work. It was a sleazy thing to do.

      • Greg

        If Fox is retroactively editing things, I give anything they or Aronofsky says a grain of salt. Portman is an actress and she did her job well, but if they had to stick her head on another person’s body digitally, quit pretending she’s a prodigy. She studied nallet when she was a child and now she’s almost 30, I doubt she retained much, especially since she wasn’t studying professionally.

    • sils71

      Not really. For starters, I would love to know what he considers “dance shots.” The dancer is not disputing that those closeups or shots that do not show the dancer’s full body are of Portman. If he is including those scenes in his total count, then he’s manipulating those numbers big time and they aren’t really arguing about the same thing. They could very well both be accurate, with his response not contradicting her claim. I tend to believe the dancer that what she considers to be full-body length dance shots were almost entirely her.

      • Beau

        U R A F O O L!

    • SarJES

      The numbers are misleading. Yes, natalie’s in 111 of 139 dance scenes, and Sarah 28. However, most of the 111 scenes that natalie danced they were mostly head or upper body shots. Sarah is not claiming to be in 85% of the dance type scenes (clearly she is only in 28) she is claiming that she was in 95% of the “on screen dancing” which she considers to be the footwork and full body shots. Clearly, Sarah isn’t counting natalie’s upper body arm waving as “on screen dancing.”

      Cause honestly, from a BALLET PERSPECTIVE it’s NOT! It’s arm waving and face shots with NO FOOTWORK.

      The only shot with natalie’s feet showing TRUE BALLET was the in the last scene of the opening shot showing her feet for maybe 5 seconds, like the directory claims.

      But I just re-watched the Beginning opening sequence and there is a whole minute of someone else dancing that they put natalie’s face on that HE FORGOT TO MENTION!!! Clearly they are still trying to play the deception card here!

      • Lois

        You are correct.
        I don’t think Sarah Lane was trying to start a fued, but rather just honestly answered questions about her work on the film. It has been the people connected with the film who have been trying to make this a major feud. I think that this is to sell DVDs so that people can look for themselves.

      • RMS

        Funny post SarJES. Some people probably didn’t get that you were being sarcastic. I agree with the points you alluded to that Natalie did a major portion of the dancing and this is a non-issue.

      • Nevely

        Someone has their mojo back! I love looking at wddnieg pics and yours are beautiful today lovey x makes me want to dig mine out now. Oh i love the last one aswell.

    • DiMi

      SHOW US THE SHOTS, ARONOFSKY!!!

      Why are people so stupid that they assume numbers are facts!! People make up numbers ALL OF THE TIME to conceal the facts behind the pretense of “science” and “math.” Spouting numbers doesn’t mean he’s telling the truth; it just means he SOUNDS like he’s telling the truth so that gullible people will believe him.

      This is not a math equation. This is a film. SHOW US THE SHOTS DARREN!!!!

      He knows that he could just post the footage of Natalie dancing vs. Sarah Dancing on youtube if he wanted to defend her, but he hasn’t done it!!!

      If Sarah Lane is only in 36 seconds of the movie – which is a joke – he’s forgetting that we SAW the movie – then show us the 28 seconds.

      He can’t; because he’s
      LYING!

      SHOW US THE SHOTS, ARONOFSKY!!!

      • DiMi

        oops, I said 28 instead of 36. But those specific numbers are not the point or the pointe! The dancing is the POINTE so show us if you dare, Aronofsky. People who respect dance are waiting and posting to youtube is free. Hurry up and defend your actress, Aronofsky.

      • RMS

        DiMi – I acknowledge your sarcastic remarks and agree with your point that Aronofsky is telling the truth. Just as you alluded to, Natalie did most of the dancing.

      • DiMi

        RMS, you are delusional, dumb, or both, which is why you believe Aronofsky. You know perfectly well that I do not. What a pathetic excuse for humor.

    • steph

      It also is HIGHLY convenient that all this “controversy” comes out and the DVD is released today. just saying.

  • Dave

    I’m inclined to believe him. Like Angie says, it’s hard to argue with the numbers.

    • LOL

      Free Sarah Lane!

      • Martine

        Screw Sarah Lane.

  • pattywilla

    It IS a movie, after all. Whether she danced all of it or not is irrelevant, it was her acting that won the Oscar. You don’t think that Toby McGuire actually climbed a building?? (Just one case in point).

    • Jessica

      Well said!

    • DGH

      If it wasn’t the dancing then what did cause it sure wasn’t her acting.

    • sils71

      Did the Spiderman people claim that Toby McGuire worked so hard on his role that he learned how to climb a building? I don’t know if that would have impressed Oscar voters enough to give him an award, but in this case they campaigned on Portman’s dedication to becoming a dancer for this part, so it appears that THEY didn’t believe her acting performance alone was enough to win.

    • Ann

      It makes a huge difference if she did not do her own dancing in a movie about dancing because some of the acting is conveyed through dance. Audrey Hephburn didn’t win an oscar for My Fair Lady because she was dubbed. The acting done through singing in a musical is just as important as the acting done through dance in a movie about dancing. So, yes…for Oscar consideration, it does make a difference whether or not Portman did her own dancing.

      Toby McGuire swinging and climbing is no comparison, when everyone knows that a stunt double or digital enhancement had to do with it. The studio makes no effort to hide that it is special effects there.

      • nema

        Now I’m suddenly thinking about Jennifer Hudson’s win in Dreamgirls. She a great singer but she’s certainly not an Oscar-level actress. >.> On the other hand, who really thinks the Oscars still stand for the finest acting/filmmaking? It’s a popularity contest and this year Natalie was it (I liked her performance but would have preferred Michelle Williams).

      • Kat

        Great point Ann. People forget why someone like Fred Astaire was so well loved and priased. Not only was he an amazing dancer, but he understood that acting did not stop as soon as he hit the dancefloor. How he moved his body was part of the acting process. So when it comes to movies about dancing, yes the dancing is just as important as the acting.

    • Jay

      Are you saying that James Franco didn’t really cut off his arm????

      • ltmcdies

        hahahahahaha…..
        touche…

      • He didn’t????

        OMG!

      • RMS

        LOL. Hilarious. Eat that all you Sarah Lane crybabies.

    • Dan

      My thoughts exactly. Sure, dancing was a pat of her performance, but Oscar is given for acting. Her portrayal of a woman slowly going insane was superb.

    • jenn

      Great point

    • DiMi

      1. If they hadn’t campaigned for the Oscar and promoted the film based on the idea of Natalie doing the dancing, this wouldn’t be an issue, but they did. And they are STILL DOING IT in articles like this. They know that it’s a big deal
      so let’s not pretend that it’s not.
      2.If they didn’t think it was an important issue, they wouldn’t have told Lane not to talk about it. That is called a cover up.
      3. Acting is done with the BODY as well as the face and voice, especially in a dance movie. Everybody who cares about film knows this; and that’s why they’re fighting this so hard.

      • RMS

        @DiMi – A couple of lousy dance scenes doesn’t take away from Natalie’s performance.

        Sarah Lane is just a ballet dancer. Any professional ballerina could have performed those full body shots. She should feel fortunate that she received an opportunity to take part in the movie.

        TO: Sarah Lane – Know your role and shut your mouth!

      • DiMi

        RMS – They were not “lousy” dance scenes. They were phenomenal dance scenes; the last scene HAD to be exceptional in order for the film to make sense. That’s why it was such a big deal for them to claim that Natalie had done the dancing, because the dancing was exceptional. Very few dancers could have performed that final scene, and Natalie was not one of them.

        RMS, you really are a vicious misogynist? Is that last line what you say to your wife when she doesn’t “know her role and shut her mouth.” You’re sick.

  • Alex

    Served…

  • Crystal

    I love that he actually went to the trouble to do this. The numbers are clear.

    • @Crystal

      No, the numbers aren’t clear. Darren Aronofsky counted ALL of the shots of Portman “dancing” including shots of just hand movements or closeups of Portman.
      Lane specifically said that the full body shots showing actual dancing were 95% Lane. If you exclude all of the shots that weren’t full body dancing shots from Darren Aronofsky’s numbers, then Lane is correct.
      Darren Aronofsky fudged the numbers by ignoring what Lane specifically referred to, and instead counted everything.

      • RMS

        I agree Crystal! Aronafsky proved that Natalie did a significant portion of the dancing.

        Sarah Lane – Know your role and shut your mouth!

  • dino

    How much more dignified would it have been for the production to honor the contribution of this young artist rather than try to sideline her?

    It’s done all the time, with benefit to all sides.

    • Dgently

      Well said, Dino.

    • Jenz

      She was a body double!!!! In the movies that does mean you’re not going to get proper credit because the audience isn’t supposed to know or think about the double. It ruins the movie! Sarah Lane needs to get over it. If she really had a problem she should have gone to the studio and producers, not the press. I know many movies have doubles(stunt, body etc) but I don’t want to hear about them and how much work they might have done in the movie.

      • mdg

        I would think twice about hiring her now. Does anyone think she will be labeled “difficult to work with”?

      • LOL

        @mdg… Oh hell yeah! As a filmmaker, though I can’t say I’m anywhere near the likes of Aronofsky (haha!), even if I were making bigger films, there’s no WAY I’d hire this Sarah Lane character. At least if I were to, I would be able to put just about anything in her contract that doesn’t favor her and she’d STILL sign it! She’s dumb, SHE’S ignorant, it’s her fault, and I sincerely hope she’s blacklisted from Hollywood (which she likely is by this point). Chances are she’ll have little do no film work in the future… Maybe some of those movie parody films like Epic Movie, Disaster Movie, etc. that all have at least once dance number in them. She MIGHT be able to get in those. But that’s about it…

      • @LOL

        Sarah Lane is not in the film business. She is a huge star in ballet. She only did this film because she was asked by a fellow member of the American Ballet Theatre, Ben Millipied, to do it. He knew he needed the best to make Portman look good. I doubt that Lane is worried about what anyone in Hollywood thinks about her as that is not where her career is, nor where she wants it to be. She aleady has an amazing career.

    • moderateray

      One factor I haven’t seen or heard discussed is that Sarah Lane was hired by the production company for a specific job and she was compensated for that job, contractually. She had an opportunity prior to being hired to try to negotiate for a greater level of recognition in the film’s credits, P R, etc. She either didn’t attempt to secure those provisions in her contract or she failed in her attempt.

      • Erin

        I agree. But I don’t think it came down to the accolades. I think it came down to Benjamin raving about his beloved conquest, saying she did 85% of the dancing when in fact that is not true according to Darren himself.

        I can see both sides and I like that stunt double girl stood up for herself and her profession. I’d be pissed to it he had snubbed my hard work and gave Natalie the credit, implying that ut’s pretty much all her. That said I’m glad Darren stood up for Natalie as maybe she didnt do it all, but she still worked her butt off and the implication that she didnt dance herself is totally wrong too.

      • DiMi

        I think she assumed that they wouldn’t lie about her work. If Tom Cruise says he did all of his own stunts in a film, and he didn’t then viewers are going to feel cheated and so are stunt people. That’s why actors do their own stunts: to sell tickets; but if they lie about it, it defeats the purpose.

    • Marine Jahan

      Totally agree. What a feeling!

    • Eli

      She apparently didn’t understand her job. Stuntmen and other body doubles don’t expect to get accolades for their work, they know what they were hired for — to make the actor AND the movie look good. That’s their job. That’s what they’re supposed to do.

      • elizabeth

        Well said, as are the comments preceding yours. And if the movie does well, it makes cast AND crew (including the stunt cast) look great. Considering this started as an indie and blew up the way it did (making it extremely profitable), it seems to me that everyone did their jobs well and should be pleased with that.

      • @Eli

        Sarah Lane is not a body double. She is a star ballerina who was hired because of her talent. According to current established practice, Lane should have been credited as “Ms. Portman’s Dance Double.”
        Ever since the scandal of not crediting the singer who sang for Audrey Hepburn in “My Fair Lady” and Natalie Wood in “West Side Story” it has become standard practice to credit anyone who provides a specific talent (such as dancing, singing, playing an instrument) for an actor. To not give Lane that specific credit makes it seem like the filmmakers were deliberately trying to mislead the audience.

      • Tsuchiya

        C’est important les rtueils, ce sont nos repe8res !Ton travail est tre8s prenant aussi donc c’est important de s’octroyer quelques temps pour soi !

  • Gen

    Darren Aronofsky is so sexy. I really want to marry him.

    • Rock Golf

      Then when he divorces you, you can be called Gen-Ex.

      • LOL

        Boom! Roasted!

  • Jeff Miller

    Sarah Lane. No one cares!!

    • Michelle

      I do; I spent my money on a lie, and I don’ lie it.

      • Michelle

        oops. one more time: I do; I spent my money on a lie, and I don’t like it. Hmm. Time for bed because I can’t type anymore. I’m tired, but I still care.

  • Sue1

    Lane’s sour grapes have been squashed.

  • b

    Cue Sarah Lane inserting foot in mouth.

    • Michelle

      He is CONFIRMING what she said. She said most of the full body shots were her, and he’s admitting that they were. He’s trying to hide that by counting of Natalie’s arm and face shots, but Lane never claimed those were her.

      • Imad

        Mike, serlousiy, from the comments in your review i would have been worried to be the one sat next to you during this firm! Im sure the floor is meant to be sticky because of popcorn and oversized drinks containers with the lids that pop off if you squeeze too hard, not the over-zealous viewer who needs five minutes before he can enjoy the film again! I loved the review, so much so i am seeing it tonight instead of the kings speech’ so it had beetter be a good film, otherwise i shall mke you eat your words my friend; computer screen en all!

  • Strepsi

    I respect both Natalie and the double, each defending her own craft.

    The whole mess was started by some provocative comments from the choreographer / Natalie’s babydaddy, who just seems like a total tool and complete asshat.

    • Matthew

      heh…he said asshat…

      Bevis and Butthead are coming back!

    • Amy

      No, it was started by Lane giving an interview to Dance Magazine in which she claimed that she had danced the majority of the part and had been silenced by producers. Millepied then refuted that and Lane subsequently came out with the 5% figure.

      • @Amy

        No, Millipied has been claiming Portman did most of the dancing for quite some time.

    • Carla

      So true Strepsi! I dislike the sooo much now. Because in the fist interview Sara Never “attacked” Nat. To Amy: it was Millepied who started the % GAME, Sara then shot back what she did and went on to commenting on Nat’s “dancing” to discredit Millepied as a choreographer…By turning this into % game Millepied has successfully made out to be a cat fight WHICH IS NOT THE ISSUE! HE’S A JACKASS AND A DISGRACE TO HIS COMMUNITY! as for you Amy LEARN TO READ!

      • Actual Dancer

        Ummmm why did EW delete my comment which was in no way profane and stayed on the subject???

      • Actual Dancer

        …. nevermind…. it mysteriously reappeared. /hangsheadinshame

  • Anna

    Sarah your 15 mins is up!

  • partyoffive

    Why the hell didn’t they use Neve Campbell in that movie? She’s a better actress than Natalie Portman. Neve used to be a professional dancer in the national ballet. She also co-wrote and starred in a ballet movie called The Company. It was 10 times better than Black Swan and a lot more realistic. This omission is another example of why Hollywood sucks. Instead they would rather employ novices like Natalie and Mila and a talentless hasbeen like Winona Ryder.

    • Felicia

      Well, I think at 37, Neve Campbell would have been too old to play that part, for one thing.

      • Martine

        Then Sarah Lane would be cussing Neve Campbell about now.

    • greg

      because nobody wants to see Neve Campbell in any movie that does not have the words SCREAM in front of it. are you stoned? Comparing their acting ability to one another and their status as a movie star is a wee bit of a stretch

    • FazeCraze

      I have seen enough Party of Five episodes to know that Neve Campbell is not a better actress than Natalie Portman.

      • Reality

        Correction: They both suck

    • Justagirl

      They could have had Summer Glau as well. She is actually one of about a dozen prima ballerinas in the world.

      • uhh no

        Summer Glau is NOT a prima ballerina. She has had dance training and performs marginally well (see her guest role in Angel) but she is nowhere near technically proficient enough to become a prima.

      • elizabeth

        Each major company has at least one, if not two or three, principle female dancers, who are called “primas.” If she is not employed by a company, then she is not currently a prima. She IS an amazing dancer, and may be able to dance at that level, but it would be helpful to remember how dance companies and dancers use the terminology.

      • Bo

        SHoulda got Kirsty Alley. She would be kicking Sarah Lane’s a** about now.

    • elizabeth

      Why must we limit our actors in dance movies to those who have some level of experience in dance that is somehow “more appropriate”? If you didn’t care for the movie, fine, that’s your perogative, but unless you’re a prima yourself (as I was at one time), then limit yourself to focusing on all the elements of the movie. The Company was gorgeous and fascinating, and Black Swan was gorgeous, disturbing and fascinating. Did I see blips in the dance sequences? Of course, I’m a dancer. Do I care? NO, I went to see a movie and EXPECTED it. It’s time for everyone to settle down. Including Ms. Lane, whom I suspect is an excellent dancer, which is why she was hired, and now that the director has weighed in, everyone else on the movie. P.S. I would indeed love to see Summer Glau in a dance film, she is a wonderful young actress and dancer.

  • Sweet

    If the double had received a sincere “thank you” I think it would’ve ended all this. Yes, you can’t lie with numbers (quantity)but the quality matters just as much. The only dancing scene that really matters to the movie is the finale because for most of the movie Natalie couldn’t get that right so yeah it makes sense Natalie would do those lower quality sequences. For the finale, however, THOSE are probably the scenes using face replacement that have the double pissed off.

    • Crystal

      I think he “thank you” was her paycheck and her name in the credits. If his numbers are correct, that’s the thanks she got and deserves (which isn’t anything to dismiss, as she seems to be doing).

      • Crystal

        *her “thank you”

      • Sweet

        #1-Her name isn’t in the credits for one, she is only credited as a hand model. #2- you can never be overgracious to someone sad if you think one ever hears “Thank You” enough.

      • @Crystal

        She should have received her proper credit as “Ms. Portman’s dance double.”

    • Michelle

      Bingo – This is ALL about the finale, and that’s why he isn’t telling us how long the finale shots are. He’s saying most shots were a second, but he knows that the finale shots were much longer. He’s still lying; it’s just his lie is elaborate and has a lot of numbers!

  • Irishgirl

    Whether Millepied kicked this off with his comments or not, Lane stirring the pot has only burned bridges for her. She should have just kept her mouth shut.

    • Al

      She hasn’t burned any bridges in the ballet community. They are solidly behind her and against Millepied. Maybe she won’t get any more ‘doubling’ jobs but I doubt she would want any after this.

      • hellodollyllama

        Trashing your colleagues publicly is a no-no regardless of which artistic discipline it is. No one wants to work with people you can’t trust.

      • Beau

        hellodollyllama….you are absolutely correct. I’m pretty sure there are many “ballet” dancers that are sideyeing her about now. After all of the good this movie did the ballet, she goes and trashes it all. No one wants to be a part of that.

      • James

        Then Millipied is to blame as he trashed Lane, a fellow dancer. I like Aronovsky, but what would you expect him to say.

      • WTF

        The truth!

    • Kate

      What did Millepied say?

      • LOL

        He said he wanted more legs.

      • AC

        He said that Natalie did 85% of the dancing. Which is 5% off according to the director.

      • LOL

        I heard he said he wanted more cowbell…

    • Ella

      are you people on crack
      1. lying actresses and their golddigging babydaddies are NOT “the professional community” of world-class ballerinas! They’re just not!
      2. Even if they were, nobody should “just keep their mouth shut” to protect a fraud that’s been perpetrated against the public and against the arts. She did the right thing.

      • Beau

        You Ella, are a complete fool. You are also just a hater. I pity anyone who you call a friend, if you happen to have any.

      • Ella

        Beau, you don’t even know what you are writing. You just believe anything that the most powerful person – Aronofsky – tells you and can’t think for myself. I have a mind of my own. That doesn’t mean I’m a hater; it just means that I”m not an idiot. I do hate lying and deception, especially when it demeans the arts. I have plenty of HONEST and SMART friends.

      • EllaYoureRight

        Ella you’re so right. I don’t like lies, which it seems that the promotion of this film and Ms. Portman’s subsequent Oscar win were based on. I wish Arofonsky would have taken the high road and said the truth. But instead he decided to continue on this road of deception. We’re not fools, you know.

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