It’s understandable that Sarah Lane wants more people to know about her contribution to Black Swan. I hope she was prepared for the swift reciprocation. Darren Aronofsky has the facts to categorically refute everything Lane’s been saying and the Huffington Post is happy to help whip the controversy to a froth.
Darren Aronofsky has put his foot down in the “Black Swan” ballet dancing controversy. The film’s director released an extensive statement on Monday, hitting back at Sarah Lane, star Natalie Portman’s dance double who claimed that she had done 95% of the actual dancing in the film. Aronofsky’s statement reads:
“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.”
Two days ago, I said it was funny to imagine Sarah Lane sitting down with a stopwatch and calculator to prove she did 95% of the dancing in Black Swan — but in spite of how funny Lane sounded, that’s the kind of proof I’d need before I believed her claim. Or anybody else’s. Now it looks like Aronofsky and his editor have done just that: given us an accurate measurement of the number of shots and the duration of time onscreen we see Lane vs Portman. (Thanks to Mik & Charlie Don’t Surf for the links to what I hope is the definitive mathematical answer, free of fractured fractions and devoid of diva division.)
More support for Natalie Portman, after the cut.
Lane’s accusations hit hard at the public perception that Portman, who trained for over a year for the role, did most of the complicated dancing seen on screen. Over the weekend, producing studio Fox Searchlight released a statement defending Portman, as well. Benjamin Millepied, the film’s choreographer, and now Portman’s fiance, expounded on Portman’s transformation and dancing ability in an interview with the Los Angeles Times last week.
“It was so believable, it was fantastic, that beautiful movement quality,” he told the paper. “There are articles now talking about her dance double that are making it sound like [Sarah Lane, her body double] did a lot of the work, but really, she just did the footwork, and the fouett√©s, and one diagonal [phrase] in the studio. Honestly, 85% of that movie is Natalie.”
More on Aronofsky’s statement at Entertainment Weekly.