Dancer claims Natalie Portman didn’t do her own dancing in Black Swan

By Alexandra Heilbron on March 29, 2011 | 11 Comments

American Ballet Theatre soloist Sarah Lane who worked as Natalie Portman‘s dance double in Black Swan claims the 29-year-old Oscar winner only did about five percent of her own dancing in the film. Lane also told Entertainment Weekly that producers pressured her to downplay her involvement. Sarah decided to speak up after the film’s choreographer, Benjamin Millepied, who incidentally is also engaged to Portman, said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times that Natalie did about 85 per cent of the dancing. Lane explains that Natalie’s head was digitally placed on her body in the dance scenes and says Millipied’s claim is “demeaning to the profession and not just to me.” The film’s director Darren Aronofsky admits that there were two complicated dance sequences where he and the production crew used Lane’s performance and then replaced her face with Portman’s, but he claims Natalie “sweated long and hard to deliver a great physical and emotional performance” and that she did 80 percent of her own dancing in the movie. [poll=263]

Comments & Discussion

  1. L1feless • March 29, 2011 @ 1:07 PM

    These allegations do not shock me in the least. Again although there is no real evidence to back it up it stands to reason. Ballet is not just a basic skill which anyone can ‘pick up’. I think it is one of those things you’re either stellar at or your not.

  2. Reggie • March 29, 2011 @ 1:19 PM

    Does anyone really care? I can see it would be relevant for a dancing award, but this was for a movie. Doesn’t make one bit of difference to the movie. Portman won the oscar for acting, not dancing so who cares if her dancing scences weren’t her.

  3. Germain • March 29, 2011 @ 2:08 PM

    Was her perfomance great because of her dancing or her acting? Answer this question and that will tell you the relevance of those allegations.

    How many actors do their own stunts? This falls in the same category I believe. Most action movies would suck if the actors were just doing an OK job and rellied only on the stunts of FX.

  4. Casey • March 29, 2011 @ 2:42 PM

    In other news, Natalie faked it in the Star Wars saga as well. She used *GASP* a green screen instead of actually traveling to the planet of Naboo!

    Ba dum dum PSH!

  5. Annie • March 29, 2011 @ 7:52 PM

    That was hilarious Casey….I don’t think it matters…I wouldn’t expect Natalie to be able to perform thhose intricate moves

  6. Micah • March 29, 2011 @ 7:54 PM

    I totally agree with Reggie. Natalie won that Oscar because of her ACTING! Yes dancing was part of the film, but whether or not Natalie Portman did a little or a lot of it on her own is not relevant because this is A MOVIE! NOT a dance competition/recital.

  7. L1feless • March 30, 2011 @ 9:54 AM

    Her acting may have won her the oscar but the issue here I think is the fact that this dancer from what I can tell even amongst the tribute forum goers here isn’t getting the same credit as a stunt double.

  8. C-Dub • March 30, 2011 @ 3:15 PM

    I think this tarnishes the Oscar win if it’s true. It’s like Milli-Vanilli winning Grammy for lipsyncing. If there is digital dancing then that’s not fair. The dancing (I’m sure) helped Natalie win the Oscar as it showed her committment to the craft of acting and dancing. I think that sure maybe there was some digital involvement on some level (you especially don’t want your star breaking a leg), but really 5%???? I’m sure the alligations can meet in the middle somewhere.

  9. Joey • March 31, 2011 @ 4:48 PM

    Like we’re really supposed to be shocked.

  10. Matty • June 13, 2011 @ 2:32 AM

    I can’t blame the dancer for speaking up. It’ll probably cost her future movie work, but why should she care? She’s a dancer in a company, they do stage, not movies. And it would be really frustrating to have someone else’s face painted on to your body, and then hear them being praised for doing in a few months what took you your whole life to accomplish, when it wasn’t really them anyway.

  11. Mel • July 4, 2011 @ 5:33 AM

    No one is saying Natalie didn’t deserve the Oscar. Even the dancer herself admits that Natalie did a great (acting) performance and deserves the award. However, the dancer was not credited with her contribution and they studio played up Natalie’s (dancing) performance beyond what she actually did.That is not fair and is an insult to professional ballerinas.

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