Natalie Portman and "The Black Swan"

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Natalie Portman and "The Black Swan"

So there's apparently a controversy over whether Natalie Portman did or did not do her own dancing in "The Black Swan," a role for which she won the Academy Award. The ballerina who doubled for her, Sarah Lane, says that maybe 5% of the dancing was Portman, while the choreographer, who also happens to be Portman's fiance & baby daddy, says that he choreographed mostly easier moves that she could do, and only the technically tricky shots & footwork were doubled. The debate: does it really matter? Blum 3

I haven't seen this movie so I'm flying blind, but I think a good movie is going to be about the story & the believability of the characters. You need to believe that Portman's character really is a ballerina, but you don't really need to believe that Portman was the one dancing. If the story isn't enough, great dancing isn't going to make up for it. She got the Oscar because she had a good story & made her character believable, not because people thought she did the dancing.

http://insidemovies.ew.com/2011/03/25/portman-black-swan-double/

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The same can be said for practically every oscar winner. They win for their portrayal, not for actually dancing, or having a speech impediment, etc. She's an actor, not a ballerina.

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Sure it matters, if you are that double or if you are a professional ballerina.

If someone has devoted years to their art, I expect that they take pride in it. I expect that they would want to be credited for their role, and I would expect that they would not want someone lying about their professional contribution to a much acclaimed movie.

If I had devoted 15+ years to my art I would not appreciate the insinuation that anyone could do what I do with months or a year of training.

I have not seen it, all I've heard about is the steamy sex scene. Did she do that one? Wink

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If Lane wants to be a headliner and receive the accolades herself she should stick to the ballet, not acting as a double in movies. That way nobody can take credit for her work.

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"Claire'sMommy" wrote:

If Lane wants to be a headliner and receive the accolades herself she should stick to the ballet, not acting as a double in movies. That way nobody can take credit for her work.

Her work was dancing, not acting. I don't see her wanting credit for Portman's acting work, do you? Where did it say anything about her wanting to be a headliner or receive acting accolades? If you did something, you would not want your own credit for your own part?

You are a better person than me. I totally would want the recognition, IF it were proven to be my dancing. It would totally bother me if someone took credit for something that I had devoted my life to being able to do, especially on the international scene.

Maybe I'm just a lot more selfish or proud than you, but I'm just being honest.

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"Potter75" wrote:

Her work was dancing, not acting. I don't see her wanting credit for Portman's acting work, do you? Where did it say anything about her wanting to be a headliner or receive acting accolades? If you did something, you would not want your own credit for your own part?

You are a better person than me. I totally would want the recognition, IF it were proven to be my dancing. It would totally bother me if someone took credit for something that I had devoted my life to being able to do, especially on the international scene.

Maybe I'm just a lot more selfish or proud than you, but I'm just being honest.

I agree. Sarah didn't bring it up as an issue until the choreographer made statements she thought were obviously untrue. I think she should receive credit where due instead of downplaying her role in making the movie successful.

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"Potter75" wrote:

I totally would want the recognition, IF it were proven to be my dancing. It would totally bother me if someone took credit for something that I had devoted my life to being able to do, especially on the international scene.

She was hired as a body double, and body doubles don't usually get credit. If the producers had wanted a professional dancer who might be able to act, they could have hired one. They wanted a professional actress who might be able to dance enough to pull off the character. And the body double got the credit she was promised, and a walk-on role, too which probably boosted her pay & earned her a SAG card. I don't see why it should matter how much dancing she did.

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But did Natalie Portman get the Oscar for her dancing or for her acting? I don't have a problem with the actual ballerina getting credited for her dancing, but I'm not sure what that has to do with Natalie Portman winning the Oscar? Didn't she win it for her own acting?

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"Spacers" wrote:

She was hired as a body double, and body doubles don't usually get credit. If the producers had wanted a professional dancer who might be able to act, they could have hired one. They wanted a professional actress who might be able to dance enough to pull off the character. And the body double got the credit she was promised, and a walk-on role, too which probably boosted her pay & earned her a SAG card. I don't see why it should matter how much dancing she did.

You are just willing to give someone a lot more credit for your work than I am. I like credit.

It isn't about taking more credit than she is due, it is simply about getting credit for what she DID. If Portman's people are lying, you don't think that that is wrong?

If my dancing was used and it were being stated that it was NOT mine, that would right bug me. If it wouldn't bug you, cool. You are a better person, for sure.

I'm not in any way arguing anything about her right to her award or not. Those awards are a joke anyway, but they are based on acting, not dancing.

I just believe that if someone is lying or misrepresenting whose work was featured in the dance scenes, that is the suck.

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I honestly don't care... Natalie Portman is a great actor either way. The movie was good and the sex scene was hawt;)

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"Potter75" wrote:

Her work was dancing, not acting. I don't see her wanting credit for Portman's acting work, do you? Where did it say anything about her wanting to be a headliner or receive acting accolades? If you did something, you would not want your own credit for your own part?

You are a better person than me. I totally would want the recognition, IF it were proven to be my dancing. It would totally bother me if someone took credit for something that I had devoted my life to being able to do, especially on the international scene.

Maybe I'm just a lot more selfish or proud than you, but I'm just being honest.

I'm talking about being a dance headliner. If doing behind-the-scenes dancing for big budget Hollywood movies isn't her cup of tea in terms of how much credit she gets for the dancing, maybe she should stick to the ballet company. That's what I was saying.

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"Claire'sMommy" wrote:

I'm talking about being a dance headliner. If doing behind-the-scenes dancing for big budget Hollywood movies isn't her cup of tea in terms of how much credit she gets for the dancing, maybe she should stick to the ballet company. That's what I was saying.

I really didn't see that Sarah saw it as a big deal until someone was saying something she felt was blatantly untrue. She knew that she didn't know what titles they were going to be giving her before she signed the contract. There's a huge difference between saying Natalie doing 85% of the dancing vs 5% of the actual dancing. If the percentages were close say 50/50 vs 35/65, I would say she's henpecking, but that isn't the case. If Natalie truly did only 5% of the dancing, then her BF has no business verbally giving Natalie credit for 90% of the dancing performed in the movie. That's just ethically wrong.

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"Beertje" wrote:

I really didn't see that Sarah saw it as a big deal until someone was saying something she felt was blatantly untrue. She knew that she didn't know what titles they were going to be giving her before she signed the contract. There's a huge difference between saying Natalie doing 85% of the dancing vs 5% of the actual dancing. If the percentages were close say 50/50 vs 35/65, I would say she's henpecking, but that isn't the case. If Natalie truly did only 5% of the dancing, then her BF has no business verbally giving Natalie credit for 90% of the dancing performed in the movie. That's just ethically wrong.

Agreed. I don't think this is about her agreed upon job being "not her cup of tea"....it is about willful misrepresentation, IF and obviously only IF, the allegation is true.

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It doesn't sit well with me. Being a double for the dancing is not being a "hand model". Maybe a stunt double. But neither of those credits indicate that she did the majority of the dancing. I feel that people should get credit for what they did, not what the producers want people to think they did.

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Perhaps if she wants 'more credit' she should be involved in a more headliner role, instead of doing body doubles.

Either way, I don't care - Natalie Portman won for her acting skills. I thought the movie was horrible and wasn't at all impressed, but I still really like her as an actress.

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i saw the movie and enjoyed it. i was impressed with her acting, didn't notice her dancing.

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If someone wants a lot of credit, being a stunt or body double is not the role to do it in.

While the dancing is important to the movie....it is Portman's performance as the individual...her story that is most key to the movie..and its what she got the Oscar for (I actually liked Jennifer Lawrence's performance in Winter's Bone more personally).

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"RebeccaA'07" wrote:

Perhaps if she wants 'more credit' she should be involved in a more headliner role, instead of doing body doubles.

.

So you would be fine with your boss taking full credit and putting their name to a report you wrote or a study you did, because if you wanted "more credit" you would be the boss?

I wouldn't.

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"Potter75" wrote:

So you would be fine with your boss taking full credit and putting their name to a report you wrote or a study you did, because if you wanted "more credit" you would be the boss?

I wouldn't.

The industries are just different, body and stunt doubles don't get the big credit. And her name was in the credits, for the role she played for the move....as Portman's double.

I guess i could see being frustrated that they are saying in interviews that she did less work than she feels she did. Thats frustrating, but I really think it looks rather silly to be going public with this frustration. I don't really know what she wants to get out of it. Its a plain fact that no one will remember her part in this movie...its the nature of the job.

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"KimPossible" wrote:

The industries are just different, body and stunt doubles don't get the big credit. And her name was in the credits, for the role she played for the move....as Portman's double.

I guess i could see being frustrated that they are saying in interviews that she did less work than she feels she did. Thats frustrating, but I really think it looks rather silly to be going public with this frustration. I don't really know what she wants to get out of it. Its a plain fact that no one will remember her part in this movie...its the nature of the job.

That is all that I am saying. I don't think that anything was mentioned by this dancer UNTIL Portman and her cronies were saying "OH, yes, Natalie did it all, she is virtually a prima ballerina" (or whatever, ballet ain't my thing).

If someone had a body double who did 99% of their nude scenes in a movie with a ton of nude scenes, and then was all "Oh, yes, that was ALLLL my beautiful body" and it was proven that it so wasn't, wouldn't that color your view of the actress?

As to what she is getting out of it? Well, money, for starters. Those interviews pay. And if she is right, she will feel vindicated that her work was recognized, and that the portman crew got what they deserved for lying, misrepresenting and discrediting her performance. If she is lying, and it is proven that it IS Portman, I'm sure that she will never, ever work in the industry again. Her risk to take.

I think that lying is lying. Regardless of industry.

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"Potter75" wrote:

That is all that I am saying. I don't think that anything was mentioned by this dancer UNTIL Portman and her cronies were saying "OH, yes, Natalie did it all, she is virtually a prima ballerina" (or whatever, ballet ain't my thing).

If someone had a body double who did 99% of their nude scenes in a movie with a ton of nude scenes, and then was all "Oh, yes, that was ALLLL my beautiful body" and it was proven that it so wasn't, wouldn't that color your view of the actress?

As to what she is getting out of it? Well, money, for starters. Those interviews pay. And if she is right, she will feel vindicated that her work was recognized, and that the portman crew got what they deserved for lying, misrepresenting and discrediting her performance. If she is lying, and it is proven that it IS Portman, I'm sure that she will never, ever work in the industry again. Her risk to take.

I think that lying is lying. Regardless of industry.

I can see what you are saying...but I don't know. It just rubs me the wrong way. What i can see this woman getting out of this is revenge (by publicly making them look bad) and money. And really i don't think either of those are good reasons to do it.

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I think that the largest motivators for any actions in life in general (more so even in Hollywood) are money, credit/acknowlegement, and revenge. Kindness is in there somewhere, maybe. It is just human nature. Why should this woman or her motives be above the rest of us?

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"Potter75" wrote:

I think that the largest motivators for any actions in life in general (more so even in Hollywood) are money, credit/acknowlegement, and revenge. Kindness is in there somewhere, maybe. It is just human nature. Why should this woman or her motives be above the rest of us?

Well, i guess i just disagree with your here. I'm not trying to arbitrarily hold her to a higher standard.

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I found this quote by Aronofsky, the director of the film:
[INDENT]Here is the reality. I had my editor count shots. There are 139 dance shots in the film. 111 are NataliePortman 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.

From what I understand, Portman trained as a ballerina in her younger years and so was able to get into this role with about 6 months of intensive training.

[/INDENT]

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"Potter75" wrote:

So you would be fine with your boss taking full credit and putting their name to a report you wrote or a study you did, because if you wanted "more credit" you would be the boss?

I wouldn't.

Totally different industries. The reports I do, I actually create and distribute. However, I've had bosses take credit and actually it doesn't bother me much because well, everyone knows the analyst does the work and the boss just talks.

Body doubles or stunt peeps are there to step in when the actress/actor's can't perform that particular piece. They aren't in the movie to show their acting skills If they want credit, which hey they should get if they do most of the work, then they should be in a field where they can actually claim it.

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"messy jessy" wrote:

I found this quote by Aronofsky, the director of the film:
[INDENT]Here is the reality. I had my editor count shots. There are 139 dance shots in the film. 111 are NataliePortman 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.

From what I understand, Portman trained as a ballerina in her younger years and so was able to get into this role with about 6 months of intensive training.

[/INDENT]

Ding, Ding. And there you have it. Sounds like the body double wanted more press for the sake of drama.

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The woman who started up all of this drama can (imho) kiss her career goodbye. People don't want to hear about her in the film. They want to buy into the fantasy.

Regardless of whether or not she did most of the dancing or just a few scenes, a person in that job role (body/stunt/dancing double) needs to get some professionalism ASAP or she's going down in career flames.

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After reading the article in EW about this, I kind of think there should have been more honesty about it. Only because a large part of the pull for Natalie to win the oscar was based on the idea, in part, that she transformed herself physically (not just in acting). Stunt doubles are given their accolades. No one tries to hide them or tells them to lie or tells the actor to say they did more then they really did. So I do see it as unfair if they really are trying to hide the fact that Portman really did not do as much as she has claimed and it's worse if they encourage her to lie. I also foundthis very interesting.

Lane is barely seen in promotional materials for the movie, including a VFX reel posted by studio Fox Searchlight that appears to show all the digital alterations made to key dance sequences. An unverified version of that reel, leaked to YouTube, seems to shows how digital face replacement was used to put Portman’s head on Lane’s body. (The clip was included in a blog post by Dance Magazine‘s Wendy Perron, who wrote about Lane’s story earlier this month.)

http://insidemovies.ew.com/2011/03/25/portman-black-swan-double/