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Natalie Portman used a double in Black Swan: criticized, Benjamin Millepied defends her

by Nicole
March 26, 2011 at 5:15 pm

Natalie Portman was replaced by a double in Black Swan for some dance scenes that were considered too difficult to perform.

The actress, who recently won an Oscar for her performance as a schizophrenic ballerina in Black Swan, reportedly used two doubles during the filming of Darren Aronofsky’s movie.

While Natalie Portman talked extensively in the press about her difficulties in leaving her role in Black Swan, with particular emphasis on the dancer qualities she had achieved, her double, Sarah Lane, couldn’t stand it anymore: according to Entertainment Weekly, Natalie Portman did in fact hardly dance.

“Of the full body shots, I would say 5 percent are Natalie,” says Sarah Lane, 27. “All the other shots are me.”

The dancer claims it was her in 95% of the dance sequences in the film. However, in the credits she was simply listed as “Hand Model,” “Stunt Double,” and “Lady in the Lane” (a brief walk-on role).

“The shots that are just her face with arms, those shots are definitely Natalie,” she said. “But that doesn’t show the actual dancing.”

Lane adds, “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. 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?”

While some questioned her performance by saying that the real “star” of the film should be Sarah Lane, Benjamin Millepied, the choreographer of the Black Swan movie and Natalie Portman’s boyfriend, wished to respond.

He told Los Angeles Times: “There are articles now talking about her dance double [Lane] 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 [phrase] in the studio,” he said. “Honestly, 85 percent of that movie is Natalie.”

Last year, Portman admitted to Entertainment Weekly that she needed a double.

“I do have a double for the complicated turning stuff,” Portman said. “It was not anything I ever could have done in a year, nothing I could’ve caught up with. But I think it was just better for all of us if I did as much as possible.”

Image source: YouTube

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