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'Black Swan' Dancer: Natalie Portman Doesn't Deserve Credit She's Getting

Despite Natalie Portman training for over a year to convincingly take on the role of a ballerina in 'Black Swan', it's no secret that a body double was used for some scenes in the film.

But 'Black Swan' choreographer and Portman's future husband, Benjamin Millepied, recently said it was much less than many critics think.

"85% of that movie is Natalie," he recently told the Los Angeles Times. "There are articles now talking about her dance double that are making it sound like she did a lot of the work, but really, she just did the footwork, and the fouettés, and one diagonal in the studio."

But that claim has brought out Portman's body double, Sarah Lane, to publicly refute those claims.

Lane says that Portman's work actually only accounts for 5 percent of what you see in the full-body dance scenes in the film. She also says producers have tried to keep her quiet about the amount of dancing she did in place of the actress.

"The shots that are just her face with arms, those shots are definitely Natalie," she tells EW. "But that doesn't show the actual dancing."

"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," explains Lane.

"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?"

"Natalie and I alternated shots. They would do close-up shots with her, just of her face and kind of from her arms up. Then they would do the same shot with me, and then they would do a full body shot from far away, or a close-up of my feet, etc. And then there were a few shots they did that were closer full body shots—and then they digitally put her face on my body."

"I mean, from a professional dancer's standpoint, she doesn't look like a professional ballet dancer at all and she can't dance in pointe shoes. And she can't move her body; she's very stiff. I do give her a lot of credit because in a year and a half she lost a lot of weight and she really tried to go method and get into a dancers head and really feel like a ballet dancer."

"Natalie is an amazing actress, for sure," she says. "I know that it's not a personal thing against me. I know that it's just a political thing. It's just unfortunate that I kind of lost credit."

Lane is most upset by the fact that the studio has simply credited her as 'Hand Model' and 'Stunt Double' for all the work she put in. Although she admits the studio never promised a particular title for her six weeks of work on the film.

"It was all my fault really because I didn't have a manager," Lane explains in a separate interview. "When I was going to sign my contract it said on screen credit is up to the producer's discretion."

"So I asked some people and I said I don't know about this. I feel like I should have it specified in my contract how I want to be credited and everyone was like you know you're a double so you're already getting paid more than a principal contract. You're already getting a good deal."

"So I signed the contract and I left it. I thought they would kind of take care of me because they were really encouraging and really sweet and always saying how amazing I was. They were kind of rooting me on when I would have to do shots that were really hard and almost impossible even for a professional ballet dancer."

"Ari Handel, called me directly before the awards and asked me to not do more interviews. He asked me what interviews I had done and he asked me to not do any more interviews until after the Oscars. I didn't say that I would, but I kind of wrote an email back that I was sort of offended that after all the hours I put into the movie that he would ask me to do this."

"I'm not stupid, I got the idea that they really want to make it look like she had accomplished something incredible. I understand that they had to do what they had to do politically to make a low-budget movie an Oscar movie. And I know that it wasn't necessarily a personal thing. Unfortunately I was the one, and ballet itself, that was discredited."

March 28, 2011 |

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