Director Darren Aronofsky Defends Natalie Portman Against Black Swan Dancing Claim
03.29.11 by Ryan
Like a scene straight out of, well, Black Swan, ballerina and Black Swan dance double Sarah Lane recently claimed that she was a victim of a "cover-up" since she performed "85 percent" of the dancing scenes in Natalie Portman's Oscar-winning performance.
Entertainment Weekly, the outlet that first revealed Lane's conspiracy theory, reports that Portman's Black Swan director, Darren Aronofsky, defended Portman's dancing work in his movie through a statement from Black Swan's 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.
Lane's comments came in response to Portman's fiancé, and Black Swan choreographer, Benjamin Millepied, who previously claimed that Portman had performed "85 percent" of her scenes. In fairness to Lane, Aronofsky's figure was 80 percent, 5 percent off from Millepied's initial number. We hope that's comforting.