November 29th, 2010
03:15 PM ET
Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis are longtime friends in real life, but it sounds like "Black Swan" director Darren Aronofsky was determined to drive a wedge between the women for the sake of his art.
"He'd say, 'Oh, Mila is doing really well on her stuff. She's so much better than you,'" Portman, who plays Kunis's bitter enemy in the ballet thriller, tells the L.A. Times. "Darren would tell us things about each other to try to make us jealous. I think he was trying to create a rivalry in real life between us."
While Aronofsky denies playing mind games, he does fess up to keeping Portman and Kunis apart so they wouldn't discuss their acting approaches. "I didn't want them to compare notes," he says of the actresses. "I wanted them to come from different places."
"Black Swan" tells the story of Nina (Portman), an uptight dancer who competes with free spirit Lily (Kunis) for the lead in "Swan Lake." Nina becomes dangerously obsessed with the role and with Lily, and at one point, the women share a steamy liplock in the film.
Twenty-nine-year-old Portman confesses that she herself was quite competitive earlier in her career but has since mellowed with age.
"I really feel like I know who I am," she explains. "If someone is, like, 'I don't know whether I should hire Natalie or blah blah,' I'm like, 'You don't know what you want.' I am who I am, and I like who I am."
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