Some days ago Natalie Portman’s stunt double claimed that Portman did only 5% of her own dancing in her Oscar winning turn in Black Swan. Darren Aronofsky responds to the controversy that has arisen through the following statement that he made to Fox Searchlight.
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.
The stunt double of Natalie Portman who made the claim and started this controversy, Sarah Lane, could not be reached for comment regarding Darren Aronofsky’s statement. Mila Kunis also spoke out in defence of her co-star, saying to Entertainment Weekly:
Natalie danced her ass off. I think it’s unfortunate that this is coming out and taking attention away from [the praise] Natalie deserved and got. She’ll tell you: no, she was not on pointe when she did a fouetté (turn). No one’s going to deny that. But she did do every ounce of every one of her dances. [Lane] wasn’t used for everything. It was more like a safety net. If Nat wasn’t able to do something, you’d have a safety net. The same thing that I had — I had a double as a safety net. We all did. No one ever denied it.
I personally want to believe that Natalie Portman did her own stunts, since she seemed to be really proud of this fact while being interviewed on talk shows and the like. I’d hate to find out she was lying all along. Either way though, she did earn the Oscar. It was given to her for her acting, not her dancing, so does it really matter?
What do you think?