Natalie Portman has been widely lauded for her transformation into a ballerina for her role in Black Swan. But is Hollywood bullshitting us? Sarah Lane, the professional dancer who worked on the film as Portman’s “dance double,” is speaking out, saying she did most of the dancing in the film. For the dance sequences in question, Portman’s head was apparently digitally grafted onto Lane’s body.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Lane explained:
Of the full body shots, I would say 5 percent are Natalie. All the other shots are me. The shots that are just her face with arms, those shots are definitely Natalie. But that doesn’t show the actual dancing.
Lane’s claims directly contradict those made by Black Swan choreographer Benjamin Millepied, who is also Portman’s fiance. He told the LA Times:
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.
We’re inclined to believe Lane over money hungry movie studios and lovestruck choreographers. Making Portman out to be some kind of magical ballet prodigy makes for a good Hollywood story, but it’s physically impossible. Dancers train their entire lives for a reason.