Sarah Lane ABT Soloist
Sarah Lane speaks out: For those who missed the ten minute segment on 20/20 last night (Friday April 15, 2011) I thought it was an opportunity to hear Ms Lane and see her body language and hear the inflection of her words. I learned she has a small voice. Other than that there was nothing new. Her position is unchanged, that the movie studio under-represented the amount of the real dancing that she did for Natalie Portman. She actually said they lied about it.
Let’s assume that she is right, and that both Aronofsky’s and Lane’s statements can be parsed so they are both correct; that while 85% of the film is Portman most of the long dance sequences and pointe shots are Lane’s which I think may well be the case. Even then I think Ms Lane totally misunderstood how Movie Studios publicity machines work and finding out has disillusioned her.
Even now Ms Lane doesn’t seem to understand, that there was a major campaign under way for an Oscar and by her giving interviews talking about her role as Portman’s dancing body double she was diverting attention to herself and away from Portman. Hollywood and celebrity PR has never been known for sticking to facts and embellishing turns of phrase in publicity campaigns are as common as dirt. The 10 y/o Margaret O'Brien was said to be a rising ballet talent in the Film ‘The Unfinished Dance’ (with Cyd Charisse) in 1947. A more recent example is the actress Summer Glau. Her IMDB entry says: “She's been a prima ballerina most of her life.” OMG! Who would have known? The person who wrote that probably has no idea what a Prima Ballerina is! But that’s the nature of Hollywood publicity.
Anyway, Ms Lane is still disappointed that no one in the film industry is giving ballet attention of the sort she thinks the art deserves. She feels that Portman was given credit for more than she did. I don’t think that is the case any more than Angelina Jolie is given credit for the work her stunt doubles do jumping off cliffs, out of windows and from moving vehicles. And Ms Lane got as much credit as any other stunt double in any other film. Having ballet classified as a ‘stunt’ in film parlance may sound demeaning, but it isn’t.
I wonder if this incident has caused enough of a controversy that contracts for stunt doubles will be revised to include a clause about self promotional interviews and articles for some time after a project has been released to the public. Will continuing this tempest it toe-shoes sell more tickets and DVDs?
Black Swan at the box-office: Total Lifetime Grosses – As of April 17, 2011: Domestic: $106,909,414 36.3% + Foreign: $187,791,265 63.7% World wide: $294,700,679
The article from Entertainment Week.com about the 20/20 interview with a video clip from the interview can be seen: here.