'Black Swan' studio: Natalie Portman did most of her own dancing
March 28th, 2011
11:42 AM ET

'Black Swan' studio: Natalie Portman did most of her own dancing

"Black Swan" choreographer Benjamin Millepied claims his fiancée Natalie Portman did 85 percent of her own dancing in the acclaimed film, but Portman's ballet double Sarah Lane insists the star only did 5 percent.

Now, Fox Searchlight has stopped dancing around the issue and is having the final say about the Oscar winner's footwork.

“We were fortunate to have Sarah there to cover the more complicated dance sequences and we have nothing but praise for the hard work she did," the studio said in a statement to Entertainment Weekly. "However, Natalie herself did most of the dancing featured in the final film.”

Portman admitted to the magazine last November that she used a body double for the more complicated ballet routines, but tried to do the majority of the dancing on her own.

“It was not anything I ever could have done in a year, nothing I could’ve caught up with," she explained. "But I think it was just better for all of us if I did as much as possible.” Millepied backed her up, telling the L.A. Times, "Honestly, 85 percent of that movie is Natalie.”

But Lane, a soloist for the American Ballet Theatre, insists Portman's claims were all about publicity.

“They wanted to create this idea in people’s minds that Natalie was some kind of prodigy or so gifted in dance and really worked so hard to make herself a ballerina in a year and a half for the movie, basically because of the Oscar,” she told EW. “It is demeaning to the profession and not just to me. I’ve been doing this for 22 years… Can you become a concert pianist in a year and a half, even if you’re a movie star?”

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Filed under: Celebrities • movies • Oscars 2011

soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. lookwithin

    While I'm at it...The notion that Miss. Lane's profession was "demeaned" in the process is just silly. The director clearly had enough respect for the art of dance to hire a body double from one of the most prestigious ballet companies in the world to ensure that the most demanding portions of this ballet were done as well as they should be done. Sarah, you could be happy and proud that your contribution ensured that the film portrayed the crushingly hard work and talent of a real dancer. If Natalie had tried to do things a professionally trained dancer does, THAT would have demeaned the profession. And it would be pretty hard for all of us to suspend our disbelief.

    March 29, 2011 at 8:48 pm | Report abuse |
  2. lookwithin

    My goodness. Of course Natalie had a body double. She's an actress – not a dancer. I imagine she did everything she could to ACT like a dancer, including quite a bit of training...and what she did was pretty good. I don't believe there was anything untoward, misrepresented or even unusual in this arrangement. Rather unsporting of Ms. Lane to bad mouth her. The job of a body double is to do things the actor cannot possibly do – and to do them quietly or seamlessly. This kind of a job is not supposed to be Ms. Lane's "Big Mo." As an ABT dancer – she should be more secure. Unprofessional.

    March 29, 2011 at 8:26 pm | Report abuse |
  3. kddaltx

    Bottom line...it's still a great movie!

    March 29, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  4. tridiv

    Arrgh!!!! Shades of Flashdance and every other body double who shouted to the heavens that this famous star"s ________ (insert body part or dance move here) was actually them!! Sarah was contracted as a dancing double. She was not hired to be Ms Portman's co-star thus deserving of billing. She's an acrobat who shows no concern for Ms. Portman's feelings, the film's continuity or her employment in future film projects. Just give her her propers now!

    March 28, 2011 at 11:58 pm | Report abuse |
  5. #1 White Girl

    She looked like she was a possessed demon in the movie. All that dancing was just the demon trying to get out of her. Terrible movie.

    March 28, 2011 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • DonK

      A demon???? Why don't you try living in reality for a bit and leave your hokey religious craziness at home!

      March 28, 2011 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
  6. betty

    anyone remember Flashdance? Same thing.

    March 28, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
  7. LL

    After Natalie pops out her kid, they should have a dance off.

    March 28, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Sneaky Pete

    Carefully crafted spin to draw more people into the theatre to see for themselves. Marketing!

    March 28, 2011 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Not Impressed

    is not impressed.

    March 28, 2011 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Head Diva In Charge

    When a celebrity gains awards and acclaim it does open them up to ridicule and doubt. But don't you think the studio would have been smart enough to admit if she DIDN'T when she started getting Oscar buzz? I know they are out for money – but really – even they don't want to loose credibility.

    March 28, 2011 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
  11. ja

    yea 85% of the time natalies face was on her body double

    March 28, 2011 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  12. TI

    sore body double, anyone?

    March 28, 2011 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Richard Head

    I hope she did all of her S.e.x scenes also.

    March 28, 2011 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |

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