There’s a ‘Black Swan’ Cover-up

In a recent LA Times article, Natalie Portman’s fiance, Benjamin Millepied shot down rumors that Natalie’s body double, Sarah Lane, did most of the dancing in Black Swan. People argued that there’s no way Portman could have perfected all those moves in just a year and a half. However, Millepied claimed Sarah only did the footwork and a few other moves and that the film was 85% Natalie.

“It was so believable, it was fantastic, that beautiful movement quality, ” he says. “There are articles now talking about her dance double [American Ballet Theatre dancer Sarah Lane] that are making it sound like [Lane] did a lot of the work, but really, she just did the footwork, and the fouettés, and one diagonal [phrase] in the studio. Honestly, 85% of that movie is Natalie.”

Now Sarah Lane tells EW that it’s not true. That there’s a conspiracy to diminish the amount of dancing she did in the film. Sarah said Black Swan producer Ari Handel even told her not to talk about her work to the press to make it seem like Natalie Portman was a ballet prodigy. The end game was to win her that Oscar.

“The shots that are just her face with arms, those shots are definitely Natalie,” she says. “But that doesn’t show the actual dancing.” Lane admits that she was never promised a particular title for her six weeks of work on the film, though she was disappointed to see that she is credited only as as “Hand Model,” “Stunt Double,” and “Lady in the Lane” (a brief walk-on role).

Lane also says that Black Swan producer Ari Handel specifically told her not to talk about her work to the press, even though she claims there was no such stipulation in her contract. “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,” says Lane. “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?”

Well… yea. Movie stars are not like regular people. They’re superhuman. Capable of learning complex skillsets in a matter of months. You know that movie Limitless? It’s not fiction. It’s actually a documentary about actors. Oh. That was a rhetorical question.

Anyway, Sarah says Natalie wasn’t very good regardless. She was stiff. Almost as stiff as I was during that Mila Kunis lesbian scene.

According to Lane, Portman’s dramatic transformation into a ballerina — a narrative firmly at the center of her successful Oscar campaign — wasn’t as impressive as the public was led to believe. “I mean, from a professional dancer’s standpoint, she doesn’t look like a professional ballet dancer at all and she can’t dance in pointe shoes. And she can’t move her body; she’s very stiff,” says Lane. “I do give her a lot of credit because in a year and a half she lost a lot of weight and she really tried to go method and get into a dancers head and really feel like a ballet dancer.”

And out come the claws. “She sucks as a dancer but I give her credit for trying. I mean, at least she tried. She lost a lot of weight and pretended to be a dancer, I’ll give her that.” That’s like the sort of barbed compliment a first grade teacher gives the slow kid in class. “Well, you failed the color by numbers test but, hey, at least you didn’t eat your crayon this time!”

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12 years ago

I believe the dancer. Natalie Portman does not look very athletic.

The Blemish
12 years ago
Reply to  Chewy

Actors gonna act.

12 years ago

Who carez….

12 years ago

I carez