Posted on Monday, March 28th, 2011 by Germain Lussier
One would think that Natalie Portman‘s Oscar for Black Swan would stop any and all discussions about the merits of her performance. It hasn’t. Last week, claims were made by Portman’s body double in the film, Sarah Lane, that only 5% of the full body shots in the film were Portman. That was in direct opposition to what Black Swan choreographer and Portman’s future husband Benjamin Millepied said. He claimed 85% of the film was Portman. Now, Black Swan director Darren Aronofsky has come out to defend his Oscar-winning actress by backing up Millepied’s claim. Read Aronofksy’s statement and more after the break.
Thanks to Entertainment Weekly’s EW.com for breaking the news of Aronofsky’s defense. Here’s his statement:
Here is the reality. 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. And I don’t want anyone to think that’s not her they are watching. It is.
I think in this case, you don’t want to call Lane a liar, she’s probably just not as well-versed in the language of film as she thinks. The way that Aronofsky shoots, I’m sure there are plenty of shots where he had Lane do the dance in addition to Portman, just in case something happened or just to make sure all the lighting and staging was right. But for the only thing that matters – the final film – I’d trust Aronofsky and say it’s Portman.
And even if it wasn’t, who cares? She didn’t win an Oscar for dancing. She won it for acting. Her portrayal of Nina Sayers was an amazing, cold, transformation and any dancing should be considered in addition to that.
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