Darren Aronofsky and Natalie Portman
EW.Com March 28, 2011
'Black Swan' director Darren Aronofsky defends Natalie Portman in body-double controversy
by Adam Markovitz
Responding to claims that Black Swan star Natalie Portman didn’t do the majority of her on-screen dancing in her Oscar-winning role, director Darren Aronofsky released the following statement through studio 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.”
Last Friday, ballerina Sarah Lane told EW that Portman only danced 5 percent of the full-body shots in the film. She also claimed that one of the film’s producers asked her not to speak publicly about her work during Oscar season. Lane’s comments came after Black Swan choreographer (and Portman fiancé) Benjamin Millepied told the L.A. Times that Natalie did “85 percent” of the dancing in the film. Lane could not be immediately reached for comment regarding Aronofsky’s statement.
Personal comment: I think with the film editor’s counts “139 dance shots in the film. 111 are Natalie Portman untouched. 28 are her dance double Sarah Lane.” that is probably the end of the discussion. Although I don’t think it necessarily addressed Sarah Lane’s contention that “Of the full body shots, I would say 5 percent are Natalie” since there were a great many upper body and leg/feet shots that NP may have done and we don’t know what the editor included or excluded in his count of ‘dance shots’. Even so, I’m so sorry that Sarah Lane seems (to me) to be coming off in this whole thing as whiney.
EW.Com March 28, 2011
Mila Kunis blasts 'Black Swan' controversy: 'Natalie danced her a- - off.'
EXCLUSIVE by Adam Markovitz
Black Swan co-star Mila Kunis is speaking out in support of her friend and cast mate Natalie Portman amid accusations that the bulk of the dancing in Portman’s Oscar-winning role was actually performed by her dancing double, American Ballet Theatre soloist Sarah Lane. “Natalie danced her a– off,” says Kunis. “I think it’s unfortunate that this is coming out and taking attention away from [the praise] Natalie deserved and got.”
Kunis also says Portman has been honest about how much of the demanding footwork she was — and wasn’t — able to do. “She’ll tell you [that], no, she was not on pointe when she did a fouettés [turn]. No one’s going to deny that. But she did do every ounce of every one of her dances,” she says. “[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.”
Last week, Lane told EW that she performed 95 percent of Portman’s full-body dance shots. Portman has been defended vocally by fiancé and Black Swan choreographer Benjamin Millepied and director Darren Aronofsky, who insists Portman did 80 percent of the dancing in the film.
Personal comment: I guess Mila needed to get her name into the publicity. I don’t think the comment “Natalie danced her a– off” contributed much to the discussion, but her comments did show solidarity with the official, and apparently correct position, based on the film editor’s dance shot count.
More on Ballet sex by Jack: “I understand that one's posture and muscle tension in the legs, pelvis and back change when one is wearing pointe shoes. There is a quite similar change when one is wearing very tall heels with the difference perhaps that in the latter the weight can be carried on the heel and so the leg muscles are involved differently. But I would think that if the heel height is extreme the pelvic and back involvement is quite similar. And then there is standing on ones "tippy-toes", admittedly difficult for any length of time, but a similar muscular change would take place. Obviously ballet dancers stretch and strengthen their leg muscles so that this "unusual" posture is normalized so that they can stand, dance, and move about on their toes. I am not convinced that having "sex" in any of those three - pointes, extreme heels, or tippy-toes is very different. I'd think for a male it's hardly distinguishable. Of course someone who has developed more muscle control, her legs and pelvis can provide a different experience to her partner and herself presumably, but that would be true whether she was en pointe, in killer heels, or on her tip toes and so sex with a well developed female body is better than one that's not. We get it. I'm not getting it Jill, but perhaps I need to experience a side by side test so to speak. Ha-ha-ha That would be fun! Tester is blindfold for a double blind (ha-ha-ha) study.”
My reply: You recall that ballet sex was an outgrowth of the Paris Opera ballet dancers taking their lovers en pointe to offer a similar, tightened, grip to lovers that patrons experienced when frequenting prostitutes wearing high heels in Paris brothels. These days Strippers stilettos, ballet boots and pointe shoes all readily available for purchase. So a woman has a choice as to what level of skill she is willing to train for, to acquire a tightened grip to please a lover. To a true connoisseur of the female leg and the velvet vice of a ballerina’s vagina high heels then and now with the wearer’s toes flexed are not comparable to pointe shoes, because the flexed toes break the line of the leg and suggest that the woman in heels hasn’t the skill, muscles and stamina necessary to take a lover with her strongest grip while balanced on the platforms of pointe shoes. Even a woman in 5 inch stripper’s heels – which hold the wearer on three-quarter pointe - can’t compete and is relegated to third place behind ballet boot sex.
As to whether differences in the tightness and strength of the grip en pointe is distinguishable from when she is standing flat or is on her back it almost always is, but it depends on the woman, how long she has been taking pointe and how much time she spends on her toes. There are other considerations as well such as sexual experience and OB history, but the length of time she clenches her vaginal muscles, when she rises and remains en pointe, is a major indicator of how tight she will be. In some cases, me for example, I have to consciously concentrate on relaxing my muscles so a lover can comfortably enter me. But of course I wear Ban Wa balls or a Penetrator as much as I can, sleeping with the balls inserted when I’m not with a man or if he has taken me with them inserted, so I’m always training and exercising my muscles.