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Director Comes To Natalie Portman's Defense: She Did 80 Percent of Dancing

'Black Swan' director Darren Aronofsky is coming to Natalie Portman's defense against claims that she only did a small portion of dancing for her Oscar-winning role.

This after Portman's body double, and professional dancer Sarah Lane, said she did most of the dancing in the film and the studio has been trying to keep her quiet about it.

"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," Lane said this week.

Lane said that Portman's work actually only accounted for 5 percent of the full-body dance scenes in the film.

"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?"

"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."

But director Aronofsky says that's definitely not the case.

"Here is the reality," he explains. "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," he says emphatically. "And I don't want anyone to think that's not her they are watching. It is."

March 29, 2011 |

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