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English Muse: Black Swan Controversy

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Black Swan Controversy

There was lots of buzz this weekend about Natalie Portman's body double -- ballerina Sarah Lane -- claiming she did most of the dancing in the movie Black Swan. Portman's face, Lane says, was grafted onto her body by film editors.
(Example of the movie's very cool special effects above.)

It's another interesting twist in the making of this fascinating movie. The Wall Street Journal has a Q&A with Lane HERE...

Do you think Lane's claim diminishes Portman's Oscar win?


Blogger Casee Marie said...

I don't think it diminishes her win because it was an award given for acting and I doubt people really judged Portman's performance based on her dancing.

But I do wish Lane had been given credit in the film. And what's worse is not only was she denied the credit, but they tried to attribute it to someone else (Portman). My sister is a professional ballet dancer so I felt the slight personally, if that makes sense.

The only good thing to come from this, though, is that hopefully other productions won't be as quick to take advantage of dancers' talents in the future!

March 27, 2011 at 9:57 PM  
Blogger Jo said...

Wow...this is upsetting in that Lane should have been given credit for her work, if this claim is indeed true.

And, if it is true, I do not feel that it diminishes Portman's Oscar win in the slightest. I feel that she won the Oscar for her acting, and even if there was minimal dancing in the film, her acting would still stand up. Her performance as an actor (regardless of dancing) was definitely Oscar worthy.

March 27, 2011 at 10:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Jo and Casee, Lane should be given credit if credit is due. But Portman's Oscar was, I sure hope, based on her acting rather than her dancing.

This was an interesting video to watch. Thanks for sharing :)

March 27, 2011 at 10:56 PM  
Blogger iva yaneva said...

I was very surprised to read about this a couple of days ago. I have to say I am a huge, huge Natalie fan and I have watched so many interviews before the Oscars. I have heard her say she did have a double for the more complicated dace moves and I think the director mentioned most of the scenes where the camera focuses on her feet it is the double dancing. So I don't really think they were trying to hide it from anyone, plus Natalie did balet when she was younger.

What is weird in my opinion is that Lane waited for so long to say this. She could have said all of those things right after the Oscars if she was in a way forsed not to say anything before that. Oh, and I don't think the video is new, it's been on youtube long before the oscars.

Having said that, I do agree that credit should be given where due. And she did deserve credit. I hope it all sorts out because those scandals are never good for anyone.

March 28, 2011 at 2:36 AM  
Blogger vicki archer said...

Fascinating subject.....who would really know...either way it was a fabulous performance....xv

March 28, 2011 at 5:14 AM  
Blogger Tonia said...

Think I would have been surprised to find out Portman had done the dancing herself. Shame Lane didn't get a proper credit at the time of the film though, but isn't this what all stuntmen/women go through?

March 28, 2011 at 5:57 AM  
Blogger Melanie's Randomness said...

Ohh...I didn't know that. I know a good majority of it was the body double because an actress with no ballerina experience isn't going to be the greatest pointe ballet dancer but yeesh that's cheap that they put Portman's face on her body. Yeesh. I don't think it takes away from the oscar win because I don't think she won it solely from the dancing, but still this is veryy interesting.

Melanie's Randomness

March 28, 2011 at 6:29 AM  
Blogger Elissa said...

how did i not hear about this sooner? i'm off to read the WSJ interview before i jump to conclusions.

March 28, 2011 at 7:03 AM  
Blogger Historian said...

I think that Lane has discovered the difficult situation for most body doubles/stunt persons in the industry. Even stand-ins that log serious man-hours helping the crew set up shots or even act out the star's dialogue when they can't be there (like if the camera is filming the other person's shots) are rarely recognized beyond a line in the credits.

If Lane was not credited in the film's credits, then yes, I believe she deserves to be angry. And yes, I believe that this does highlight a problem that has ALWAYS existed in the industry (voice doubles in the old musicals, etc).

I believe Portman and the film makers/production company could have been a bit more upfront about Lane's involvement, but honestly they didn't behave any differently than any other faces in the industry. If anything, David Fincher and the Social Network's constant mention and praise of the body double that acted as the other twin (and then had the main actor's face/performance grafted onto his own) is highly unusual.

Anyway, I think it's a sticky issue.

March 28, 2011 at 7:50 AM  
Blogger Teresa said...

Talk about kiss and tell.

I don't think Lane claims diminishes Portaman's role.

Without Portman poor Lane wouldn't even have this space to say she was there.

In fact Lane is complaining about why movies are make - they sell illusions. And the black Swan sold - sorry Lane - not so much for the dancing in it (though it was wow) but for the tragic and overwhelming details on it. No one complained that Cassel couldn't dance, did they? That should have explained Lane what the movie was about.

I'm sorry for her because I do understand, in a way, her rant, but she'll pay for this gesture and she didn't have to.

Lovely Blog. Became Fan!

April 4, 2011 at 2:57 AM  

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