Mila Kunis steps up to defend Natalie Portman: “She danced her ass off”


Yesterday, I was somewhat placated by Darren Aronofsky’s OCD-level details on what Natalie Portman had danced and how many times the body double was used. According to Aronofsky’s calculations, Natalie had danced 80% of her dancing scenes, with Sarah Lane and a second dance-double filling in the extra, more complicated dance scenes. Just for a refresher on the on-going controversy, here’s the time-line:

*In December, Sarah Lane tells Dance Magazine that the studio didn’t want her to do interviews, to create the impression that Natalie Portman is some kind of ballet prodigy. Lane also claims that she does much of Natalie’s dancing in the film, but doesn’t get specific with numbers.

* Then, in March Benjamin Millepied tells LAT that Natalie did most of her own dancing, putting the figure at 85%. He also seems to be kind of bitchy about Sarah Lane, and Natalie’s skills. The controversy explodes, and many criticize Portman, and the studio, for waging an Oscar campaign on false pretenses.

* Days later, Lane comes up with her own figure, claiming Natalie did 5% of her own dancing. Lane criticizes Portman’s performance even further.

*The studio releases a weak statement defending Natalie. Darren Aronofsky follows a day later with specific numbers.

That should have been the end. Especially since the Black Swan DVD comes out today and all of this is starting to seem like the most epic promotional campaign ever. But today Natalie’s costar Mila Kunis released her statement to Entertainment Weekly:

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 fouetté [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.”

[From Entertainment Weekly]

Sure. I’m kind of over this controversy at this point. Mila’s point about Natalie admitting that she didn’t do all of the dancing herself is interesting, though. Yesterday, I was looking through our Natalie Portman archives, trying to find an interview where she either claimed she did all of her own dancing, OR where she talked about her dance doubles. I couldn’t find either, which makes me think that Natalie’s Oscar campaign was less about “I did all of this dancing myself, yo” and more about the sin of omission.

Oh, and why hasn’t Natalie spoken up in her own defense? Why must the peasants all come out and defend Dame Portman’s honor?


Photos courtesy of WENN.

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92 Responses to “Mila Kunis steps up to defend Natalie Portman: “She danced her ass off””

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  1. Miu Miu says:

    If I was heavily pregnant, I would imagine I’d be taking the high road too. In a word, she’s not defending herself, she’s got better things to think about.

    If anything, this entire incident only reinforced the crazy bitchy ballerina stereotype.

    Go eat a steak, crazy ballet girl.

  2. fancyamazon says:

    Sarah was not supposed to do interviews because what stunt/dance/trick/whathaveyou double ever does press interviews for a movie? She is just wrong if she thinks she should get any more “credit” whatever she means by that. From reading and link-clicking over the past few days with this story, I have seen that Natalie did call her double by name and fully admitted to having one. Not sure why she needed to even do that, since there are ALWAYS doubles, but whatever.

    Also, the girl got credit for what she did in the movie credits, from what I can see. Maybe she thinks she is the first person to ever stand in for a star in a movie?

  3. MNGIRL76 says:

    This is ALL P.R. hype for the DVD release, plain and simple!

  4. KJ says:,,20441365,00.html

    BAM! End of the first paragraph, she talks about the dance doubles and difficulty of certain routines. Ballerinas be crazy. Must be the lack of food.

  5. Lenore says:

    They can resolve all this when the DVD comes out, by adding a little subtitle track that specifies shot-for-shot when it’s Natalie dancing, or when it’s a double. I double-dog-dare them! And if not, why not?

    Let’s face it, though, even though most people would assume that a double did SOME of the work, the producers DID run a campaign heavy on the “tons of training, starvation, amazing transformation into a ballet dancer” that Portman allegedly achieved. It was a major part of the publicity in the run-up to release. The producers clearly felt that the illusion was important – I certainly don’t recall a lot of parallel comments in the press from Aronofsky or Portman, or ANYONE, about “my great dance double” or “amazing face-substitution CGI”. No, the emphasis was all on Natalie’s incredible actressin’ and supernatural commitment to the role.

    All this “we never said we DIDN’T use a dance double” stuff is just so much Clintonian hairsplitting after the fact.

    Just because there wasn’t a “cover-up” doesn’t mean they didn’t do their damnedest to hedge their bets and make out like Natalie became a prima ballerina in 18 months because she’s just so super-special. (And I LIKE Portman.) I don’t doubt she worked her ass off, but from the sound of things, so did Lane.

  6. Isabel says:

    Natalie is pregnant, already won the Oscar, and is likely over it. This Sara Lane chick needs to STFU. She acted her ass off. Natalie didn’t get an Oscar because she claimed to do every little thing. She trained, she danced, she acted, and like ANY OTHER MOVIE OUT THERE, she had a body double. Sour grapes for Sara, I guess…but good luck getting a great gig like that in the future, hooker.

    If I were Nat, I’d be laying on my couch, indulging in whatever craving strikes my fancy and getting pregnancy massages. I’m not, so my 9 month pregnant ass is sitting in a cube fretting over Nat haters.

  7. Venus says:

    “no, she was not on pointe when she did a fouetté” — so now we are counting fouettés that are not en pointe as ballet? Good to know. See, this is why I hate Hollywood — it is built on such cr@p. Famous people say something & everyone believes them. If you are not en pointe when you do a fouetté, you are NOT dancing ballet. Furthermore, when you exist a scene en pointe (badly and without turnout), you are also NOT dancing ballet. The justifications & lies about Natalie actually “dancing” are transforming my mild feelings that I was ripped off by the hype when I saw the movie (because the hype definitely was, as Sarah Lane said, all about the amazing transformation Natalie Portman went through to “dance” the role) but I figured, hey, its a movie, of course, it was all hype & she didn’t actually become a ballerina at 29, into downright p!ssed off-ness. I haven’t seen ONE dancer (other than ballet KFed defending his meal ticket) “praise” Natalie’s “dancing.” Until then, these Hollywood people need to STFU.

    And Sarah Lane did NOT get credit in the movie — “lady in the lane” is NOT the same thing as “dance double.” Heck, she didn’t even get credit as “stunt double,” although I would argue that a soloist at the ABT is not a “stunt” double but a dance double.

  8. LBeees says:

    Over it as well. Don’t care for Portman, but Lane sounds like a piece of work.

    If she wanted more credit for her role in the movie, she should have asked for it and negotiated. Studios don’t just give up title credit without a fight. Milli Vanilli anyone? Come on!

  9. Eve says:

    I’m kinda over it too…they’ll say whatever they want, choose the adequate wording (like gossip magazines do in order to avoid lawsuits) and numbers to make it look like they’re right.

    My main problem, as hard as it is to believe, isn’t necessarily with her (or not her) dancing scenes but her acting. The quivering lips, over the top grimmaces (like that face she makes when she phones her mother, from the bathroom, to tell about the Swan Queen role), the crying — things I’ve seen in every single one of her movies.

    @ Lenore (# 6):

    Last three paragraphs: my exact thoughts.

  10. justsayin says:

    i looked at the movie .. natalie did not dance.. when you see close ups f her.. all she’s doing is waving her arms and turning her head.. this way and that.. you cant even see her in the mirror and you almost never see her feet when they and she says she was dancing .. for al i know she could have been standing still. she could be doing anything.. the Dancing where you see the feet the legs he body the MEAT of the Dance scenes that is all sarah lane.. the body posture is different that is most definitely not natalie.. I can wave my arms and move my head this way and that very gracefully people would think Hey she does ballet… but look at my feet no contest there. I think Sarah lane is right in a way . you cannot learn to become a premiere ballerina in a year and half while going to movie events etc going to the beach doing press etc etc… it is not possible. Ballet dancers even so so ones live eat breath ballet there is a certain emotion beauty of the body that cannot be acquired in a year. it cheapens the art. Natalie portrayed / acted like a dancer really well the character she developed etc deserving of an oscar for her character portrayal not for Dance.. she needs Ballet K-fed to give her lots more lessons to acquire that certain undercurrent all ballet dancers have..

    hey Justsayin…

  11. KJ says:

    Ok, anyone who went to Black Swan thinking Natalie did all her own work is dumb. Plain and simple. If you’re over the age of 12, you shouldn’t have a hard time understanding that Hollywood movies are smoke and mirrors. She never said she did everything, there’s no reasonable way she could’ve become that proficient, and the use of a dance double was mentioned in interviews (it took me 30 seconds to find the EW article, and there were more listed on google). I think Lane should’ve gotten a better credit, but let’s not act like this is a conspiracy when it’s clearly not.

    EDIT: And let’s not play the “but Hollywood said so!” game, because since when does anyone around here believe what people trying to sell you a movie say?

  12. gloaming says:

    The story has now changed to Sarah Lane just got owned by Darren Aronofsky and Mila Kunis.


  13. Solveig says:

    I’m waiting to hear Obama’s Saturday speech and the Pope’s Sunday Angelus pray: I’m sure both of them have something to say about this issue too.
    Enough already, this story is ridiculous. Natalie won that Oscar because of her acting, not because of pirouttes, fouettés en tournant and so on. That does mean that to me – and I suppose to the Academy too – dance didn’t affected the overall result of Natalie’s performance as an actor. If Sarah Lane was her body-double in every scene it wouldn’t have changed my opinion on NP’s acting skills.
    And I highly doubt that common people like us believe that ballet is something easy to achieve, or that we can be dancers in one-year training, we know that ballet is a lifelong dedication art.

    Edit: I totally agree with KJ (12).

  14. Dana says:

    Why does it matter at all!! Stunt doubles are used all the time. Do you think Jamie Foxx used a double for some piano scenes in Ray? Or how about Russell Crowe in Gladiator? They both won Oscars. Why does it matter? Because she is a woman? Silly controversy. Leave her alone. I agree it does seem like a promo campaign though.

  15. Laurie says:

    I don’t see where Lane is doing all the talking. She has not said a word since her last statement. It has been “team Natalie” that has gone on and on. Kunis to me has really made this story jump the shark. After Aronovsky, it should have ended, but she spoke up without necessarily being asked.

    From what folks say, it is obvious she did not dance, so why not just say so. But that would make the Oscar campaign a sham, which apparently it was. They should not allow campaigns anymore as this shows how dishonest they can be. The actors should get nominated and keep their mouths shut and let the voters vote on what they see and not what they are told. But no one is going to take the Oscar back, so just move on.

  16. irishserra says:

    LOL!!! Why is this remarkable?

  17. Snarky_Pup says:

    Natalie is getting her director, sleazy baby daddy, and costar to defend her because she knows that she is not well liked by the general public.
    If Natalie and Ballet-K-Fed had simply acknowledged Sarah Lane’s work in the first place, none of this would have happened. The classy and decent thing to do would have been a name thank you to Sarah Lane at the Oscar ceremony. The second best thing would have been to try to soften Ballet Boy’s harsh words a bit and give credit to Sarah for her work and dedication to dance after the interview he gave. Natalie did neither. Why? Because she’s a self entitled little shit. That’s why.
    Natalie is an arrogant b!tch. Mila seems like a truly sweet person.
    And I have to add, look at that monstrous b!tchface Nat is making at Mila in the first pic! She looks pissed that Mila is A.) Prettier and B.) A better actress (not saying much there though).

  18. Mia says:

    Well said, Lenore & Venus.

    I didn’t get the hype for this movie since I’d already figured out the twist from the promos. I also assumed the dancers were properly credited until the Oscar campaigning began & it was obvious Natalie’s chances were being bolstered by the allusion she rigorously trained to become a prima ballerina. Now, my hate is full on & I’m tired of this pretentious movie, Natalie, Darren, and Ballet K-Fed.

    Please don’t say anymore, Mila & make me hate on you too!

  19. Isa says:

    I also saw Black Swan recently and I also noticed that when Natalie dances they only show her head and arms.
    But you know what? It didn’t bother me ’cause
    it’s a MOVIE, she’s an ACTRESS playing a ballerina and she did a really good job at it too.

    What’s next? A double claiming the lesbian shots were only 5% done by Mila, and the rest by her, a REAL lesbian?

    Gimme a break……

  20. mia girl says:

    @ venus
    Filmmakers and those involved in the interviews have specifically pointed out the fact that the fouetté featured in the film are in fact the scenes with the dance double. They are not faking a fouetté.

    I get it that everyone in the ballet community is up in arms because you can all see the imperfections in what Portman does, and that you feel she is getting praise as a dancer. But for the general movie goer, no one really cares about it not being “perfect” dance. And don’t worry, because no one thinks she is a great dancer.

    What most people think and are impressed by is that she is a normal person that had to train incredibly hard to get her body into a shape and learn enough dance to make it “believable” that she could be a dancer. Movies are made with actors who create illusions.

    I have no idea if Christian Bale or Mark Walberg know how to throw a proper punch, or if their footwork in the boxing ring is actually well done or bad. Perhaps people in the boxing community are horrified. But watching the Fighter it looked believable, impressive even, which is what a movie goer expects.

  21. AmyLynne says:

    I can see both sides of this. Natalie definately promoted herself with her hard work, I danced and danced stuff. In fact, until this controversy I was unaware that there was a dance double and I got the general impression she did everything herself. The statistics don’t really matter that much either- you can show someone “dancing” by showing their upper but it is the few really tricky parts that count. I can see why the dance double is pissed- it’s false promotion. HOWEVER, I also think she was well paid to be the dance double and looks like spoiler brat now whining about it. Clearly, Natalie though she had transformed herself into a ballerina (like, really, really believed it) and this caused her to win. Of course she isn’t a ballerina, but she acted like one in the movie. The details of the actual dancing is a matter of ego and false presentation.

  22. jenn says:

    3rd statement in three days, Jeezus. We get it, don’t mess with the Hollywood elite by telling your own experience. It’s easy to dismiss the work of others when you’re on top. Their joint power gives them a perceived validity, but part of arrogance is undervaluing the work and artistry of others and overvaluing your own (or your star’s) efforts. I bet Natalie herself would’ve eventually said something like “Yeah. Sarah Lane made me look good. I couldn’t have done it without her.” That would’ve been both gracious and true and wouldn’t have diminished Natalie at all, nor diminished the dance double. And best of all it would have been non-douchey unlike FOX studios/Aronofsky/Kunis/Milipied, ad nauseum. In the future I hope this situation forces producers to credit dancers as *dancers*–fellow artists in their own right. Though with all their power, they will probably just get another dancer who is naive enough to trust they’ll credit her as gee, I don’t know, a *dancer* in the credits.

  23. devilgirl says:

    OH GOD! MAKE IT STOP! I cannot take anymore of this non-controversy controversy.

  24. Hmmm says:

    What better way to promote the DVD than to ramp up the dance wars. Now people might buy just to see who’s right. All on the back of a dance double and the wholesale destruction of her reputation. Nice.

  25. Marianne says:

    I’m sure Natalie hasn’t said anything because just wants this to all go away. In fact there wouldn’t even be all this controversy if her stupid fiance didn’t go around and make stupid claims ( to probably benefit his fame – not hers). I’m sure he’s seeing a lot of “bitchface” from her.

    And honestly whether she did 5% of the dancing, 50% or 85%, she didn’t get the oscar for her role as a ballerina. She got the oscar for Nina’s descent into madness.

  26. Myra says:

    Again, I’ll say that I don’t think anything Lane said was wrong. No one needed to come out and defend Natalie, because nothing Lane said was damaging. Maybe Benjamin was the one who needed to keep his mouth shut.

  27. N.D. says:

    There were no sin by omission. She did talk about having a dance double and about that dance double being Sarah Lane.

    The links and quotes were posted in comments more than once. Hek, the quote about her explaining about having a double WAS IN YOUR OWN FIRST POST, Kaiser, a day or two ago.

    Here it is.
    In interviews, Portman didn’t hide the fact that she had used a body double for key sequences in the film, though Lane’s name, and the extent of her work, were played down.

    “I DO HAVE A DOUBLE for the complicated turning stuff,” Portman told EW last November. “IT WAS NOTHING I EVER COULD HAVE DONE IN A YEAR, nothing I could’ve caught up with. But I think it was just better for all of us if I did as much as possible.”


    Here are some other quotes from Portman.

    “I was en pointe for – I mean, there’s no way, obviously, I could have learned, you know, fouette turns en pointe for the film. That’s something that takes a lifetime to perfect.

    So there’s a wonderful dancer, Sarah Lane, who did the more complicated pointe work. But I did the stuff that was possible to learn in a year.” Source

    “I did everything, and the dance double — Sarah Lane, who’s a really wonderful dancer — they shot us both doing everything, but because most of the film is in close-up, they’re able to use me. The parts I couldn’t do were because it’s doing very complicated turns on pointe. They would shoot me doing it in flat shoes and Sarah doing it in pointe shoes and find a way to make that work.” Source

  28. MNGIRL76 says:

    DVD promotion! This is Hollywood! Petty, insignificant, scandals to stir up controversy to get DVD sales up. Why hasn’t she spoke up earlier = DVD!

  29. Marianne says:

    @ Snarky_Pup : You do realize that Mila is also looking the same way Natalie is, and also making a face? How do you know that she is looking at Mila, they could have both been looking at someone else (which then Mila shouldn’t get a pass). Or it could have been a simple coincidence.

    And no she didn’t thank Lane at the Oscars, but she thanked a lot of other people like her hair and make-up team, the costume designer, the camera crew ( a lot of people, that don’t get thanked). She’s not completely bitchy as you make her out to be.

  30. Alice says:

    Oh my god. Enough already. She won the Oscar, the director had someone count the scenes, please let this ‘controversy’ die.

  31. N.D. says:

    The most idiotic thing about this controversy is that both sides are saying essensially the same. Lane did all the complicated stuff on pointe and it’s mostly her body in those scenes.

    The only difference between them is that for Lane those shots are the only ones that matter and others point out there were many more other dancing scenes that didn’t require complicated footwork and Portman did them herself.

    So if you look at the movie as a whole you can say that Portman did most of the dancing and in one scene she’s even shot on pointe. If you concentrate on serious dancing scenes, then everything where you see a full body or just foots it’s a double, and where it’s upper body/face – it’s Portman.

  32. lili says:

    What about the second double? Conveniently nobody speaks about her.
    NP did not even lose that much weight for the role. I dont think that she was adequately cast. This role is very physical, and they had to substitute her body everywhere, even in the Mila scene. Her facial expressions lack range and her voice is whiny. I liked her in Other Boleyn Girl and in Garden State, but that`s about it.

  33. lucy2 says:

    ITA, devilgirl! LOL

    Substitute “ballet” for “boxing” and you have Hilary Swank in Million Dollar Baby. I don’t remember anyone being furious at her, even though she talked about her intensive training and had doubles in the film, and won an Oscar.

  34. N.D. says:

    And the last thing (I promise!). To blame Portman and producers that they made becoming and being a ballerina look so easy is really silly. It’s the same like balming House M.D. for making being a doctor look like it’s easy and like there are no rules in this profession etc. (and Million Dollar Baby example is even better, thanks lucy2.)

    It’s a movie! And actors are not the characters they play! Any adult unable to comprehend this concept has bigger problems in their life than their illusions about ballet.

  35. aria says:

    @Snarky_Pup: I couldn’t agree with u more!

  36. Isabel says:

    1 – Nat’s supposed “bitchface” in that first pic is a direct result of her atrocious makeup.

    2 – So she left out a person in her speech. Maybe there was a lot of tension beforehand? Maybe Lane was up to more than we knew? Or maybe Nat just won an effing Oscar and tried to name as many people as possible and forgot that one? What’s up with the need to villify?

    3 – Nat’s a great actress. She did a fantastic job. I, myself, am not a ballet freak…so the technicalities involved in some particular turn aren’t really of interest to me. She didn’t win a ballet award. She won an Oscar. You don’t need to do every single stunt yourself to win an Oscar. Sounds like the ballet snobs would have preferred that Natalie spend the entire press tour babbling about her dance double…which would completely defeat the purpose of the dance double in the first place. It wasn’t a documentary about ballet. It was a work of fiction. GOOD LORD.

  37. Jane says:

    I think millipied (and maybe portman)got what he wanted. No one can stop talking about portman and how great she is, but no one blames him for starting the mess in the first place. Also, great publicity for the DVD. Checkmate! Hollywood at its best and worst.

  38. Ron says:

    This story is such BS and sour grapes. Does anyone really think that there aren’t doubles for things like this. Do people really think that Bruce Willis jumped off 30 story buildings in Die Hard? I doubled for a famous country star a few times in music videos for God’s sake, because he was busy and didn’t want to do long shots.

  39. jenn says:

    Portman doesn’t look bad in any of this, it’s just all the douches around her. One of the commenters showed she previously praised the double by name twice. I don’t think she’s a b, she’s just pregnant and doesn’t wanta deal with a mess she didn’t make right now. Even if you go by Aronofsky’s 139 “dance scenes” with 111 being Portman, that leaves about 28 scenes of real dancing. Which is probably the amount of times I saw actual dancing in “Black Swan”. (It wasn’t a dance movie like “Tango” or “Save the Last Dance” which has a lot of dancing in it.) I think it’s likely Portman still would have won the Oscar even if the studio hadn’t implied she achieved more through lessons than looking the part and getting into character. Actors’ expertise lies in acting, not any other medium, and that’s what we appreciate them for. Their ability to convey a character, which, in my opinion, Portman did.

  40. munchies says:

    i hate lane. shes a bitchy and bully ballerina you can always see in movies. even said NP cant move her body. what the..

    Dancing is not the best in the movie anyway. the best scene was when Nina was almost caught by her mom when she was pleasuring herself

  41. the original bellaluna says:

    At least I’m not the only one over this…whatever it is.

  42. Katie says:

    My only feelings about this situations are that I didn’t think Natalie deserved the Oscar, so I find it kind of amusing that her performance is being called into question. If the role didn’t require so much physically, she would not have garnered nearly so much attention and accolades for it.

  43. kathug says:

    um I grew up dancing ballet for my whole entire life. when i saw the black swan, i knew without a doubt that natalie did not do all the dancing, and the dancing she did not was not that spectacular. she is not a trained professional ballerina and no one in the ballet world was fooled by that. but i do not think that this affects her performance in the least. acting is not dancing

  44. Myra says:

    Exactly Jane. He caused this mess and now everyone is shitting on Sarah Lane. The girl said nothing wrong. Stop sucking Natalie’s dick.

  45. jess says:

    So if you respond to bullshit you are petty and need to get over yourself. But if you don’t respond to bullshit then it’s suspicious of why you don’t say anything? I love this website and think the writers are very funny but you can’t manipulate every story based on how you personally feel about the celebrity involved.

  46. Micki says:

    Well, thank you N (29).Obviously withouth an explicit THANK YOU whatever Natalie says about Lane (mentioning the name, her contribution to the film ets.) is simply not enough. We tend to bash and preach.

  47. taylor says:


    Exactly Micki….#29 post said it perfectly.

  48. Solveig says:

    @Jane (40) and Myra (47), actually Sarah Lane gave that interview back in December, while Millipied gave his this month.
    He’s not the one who has started this stupid controversy.

    March 29th, 2011 at 1:25 pm

    I love this website and think the writers are very funny but you can’t manipulate every story based on how you personally feel about the celebrity involved.

    That’s the thing that bugs me the most of this site. No offence, I love CB, but I’d also like to read more balanced opinions on those celebrities, otherwise the risk is not to be different from those gossip magazines you loathe so much.

  49. AmyLynne says:

    #29- thanks for the clarification what Natalie did and did not say. Makes me rethink my initial anti-Natalie position

  50. Jane says:

    Well if Lane was interviewed in December, why are we just now hearing about it three months later? Must not have been too important then, so why would it be important now. Again goes back to Millipied and his interview in the LA Times, a couple of weeks ago that brought it back up, otherwise, who would have known or cared.

  51. N.D. says:

    @Jane She made new comments after Oscar and before BM interview.

    Honestly it was this blogger, Wendy, who did more than anyone to start this controversy. She claimed there is a “blackout” happening and made some false claims (ilke the one that they forced longer CGI video off the net) to support it.

  52. Venus says:

    @mia girl: I don’t actually disagree with you. I said myself that I only mildly felt ripped off by the hype when I saw the movie, but realized that it was only a movie, of course Natalie Portman didn’t transform herself into a ballerina. I’ve only gotten upset (and I think most people in the ballet community only got upset) after Millipied said that cr@p about Natalie doing 85% of the dancing & then seeing the director back that lie up by pretending things that are not dancing are dancing (exiting a scene en pointe, for example is not dancing, yet he counted that as dancing). And people are BUYING IT.
    It is also pretty upsetting that while Sarah Lane didn’t say anything bad or untrue, all these people are jumping on her and really trashing her. She said the truth — Natalie Portman’s “dancing” is stiff & awkward & she can’t dance en pointe. Lane is a soloist in the ABT — a position she has trained for since childhood — she doesn’t need 15 minutes of fame on gossip blogs — she’s already got recognition in the ballet community. That is what I mean when I wrote that someone famous says something & everyone believes them. The detractors of Sarah Lane who are saying things like “she ruined her career” or she is “jealous and wants fame” don’t know cr@p about ballet.

  53. serena says:

    This is totally unfair. I know Natalie is an actress who does almost everything by herself, and I believe she did that 80% or something of dancing. Lane is just a bitch who wants attentions.
    Probably, Natalie didn’t say anything because she didn’t want to come out as a bitch and knows what she did, so she preferred staying silent.

  54. Runs with Scissors says:

    I think we’re forgetting what the movie itself is about.
    These women are GRILLED from the time they are tiny little hatchlings that they have to be PERFECT, they have to be the best girl in the room, basically ego-maniacal prima donnas equal to the task of complete bodily control, huge self-sacrifice and the ability to carry and entire production on their shoulders without cracking.

    I think the Producers played up Natalie, sure, but didn’t overtly diminish Lane’s contribution.

    I think Lane’s ego just can’t take the praise being laid at Natalie’s feet, it’s just not in her nature, that’s probably why she’s such a successful dancer. She’s proving the film’s point.

  55. Alexis says:

    Natalie Portman didn’t win the Oscar for her dancing. She won it for her acting. Yes, ballet was a huge part of the film. However, it was Natalie’s portrayal of a very difficult character that won her her praise in the end.

    Black Swan was not a documentary on the technical aspects of ballet. It was an art film that told a seriously disturbing story of an emotionally unstable girl who happened to be a ballerina.

    Sarah Lane needs to understand that, and realize that just because there were a few shots of her feet in the film, doesn’t mean she is somehow worthy of great worship in the world of film. She is a stunt double, she got her paycheck, and if she wants to be a star herself, she should go get a part in Swan Lake, rather than waste her time bitcing to tabloids.

  56. John Wayne Lives says:

    Omg! NatP didn’t turn into a prima ballerina in 18 mo. Its a MOVIE.

  57. Kim says:

    Liars! Take away her Oscar. She DID NOT do 85% of that dancing. No way!!!!

  58. Sparkly says:

    I think chick is pissed that ballet K-fed got all his publicity. Either she’s a jilted lover who tried for Natalie (or Mila) first, or she’s just crying herself to sleep at night screaming, “Why doesn’t anyone know MY name???”

  59. Kim says:

    Liars! She DID NOT do 85% of that dancing. No way! I would respect them & be ok with her winning an Oscar if they were honest about the amount of dancing she did but they arent being honest at all. Anyone who has ever danced esp ballet knows it is not physically possible to attain a level of dance that high in a mere year. Its just not possible.

    She won the Oscar for her acting and DANCING. The Academy will be first to tell you the dancing is what sealed the deal on her Oscar so she did win it under false pretenses.

  60. jacquie109 says:

    While it takes YEARS to perfect ballet, someone spending 10 to 14 hours a day working on the same routines for 18 months could probably get very good at them. I can understand wanting credit for the work you’ve done, but I also far better understand that if you are a “stunt double or stand in” for an actress, no one really cares about you. If they aren’t listing out all the other dancers who doubled for the rest of the actors then you don’t get credit either. I think this is a poor attempt at grasping for attention from this ballerina and its a little sad. Learn your place tiny dancer! and if you want to be an actress then get to working… otherwise wave your damn rose and shut up because people go to the movies to see a story, they go to ballets to watch the footwork!

  61. Alexis says:

    She won best actress. Not best dancer.

  62. aka pakka says:

    i think sarah wants her recognition she is an artist and a darn good one in her own right. she should have had a decent credit. she should have not been told to not give interviews. she deserves the respect she has worked a great deal of her life . i think that is it. where it counted in the dancing full in not just close up arm waving it was sarah .. they could have done something. it;s been done in other movies.. why not this one

  63. AL says:

    It’s a joke,right? They tried to capitalize on the “Raging Bull effect” by hiding contractually Sarah Lane up until the Oscars. Given Portman’s glowing technical performance, I suggest she guest-stars in Bolshoi Ballet whenever she feels like it.

  64. Jenny says:

    I decided to go back and look at a few reviews for this film. I would go along with everyone here who said she got the award for acting, except that in almost all of the reviews, including Ebert’s and the NY Times, they talked about the importance of her being able to do the dancing and see her suffering through the moves that made the story compelling.

    So, if the dancing did not count, then why have it mentioned so prominently and so frequently when people watched it? Why have it such a big part of the overall marketing as well. Dancing did count.

  65. Zoe says:

    I have mixed feelings about this. First of all, I used to be an actor, so I’m well aware people are playing a part, the dancer was correct when she said that despite the training Natalie received, you can’t be THAT good that fast. Natalie was playing a role, and like any film, they use doubles and stand-ins for different shots. This shouldn’t even be talked about, it’s the norm. That said, Natalie didn’t win an Oscar for her dance moves, she won it for her emotional performance, which has nothing to do with this dancer. That said, in all fairness of course all the stars and director of the film are going to defend their actor, it’s in their interest to do so. This dancer doesn’t have anyone coming out in her defense. I think the truth lies somewhere in the middle, of course a lot of these shots weren’t Natalie, that’s not a requirement of any actor and that standard isn’t normally held against anyone else playing a role. Likewise, the dancer needs to understand that part of her job is that they were going to graft another face onto hers and that she was standing in and as such, she’s an unsung hero of sorts, that’s how it goes. If she wanted the glory, she shouldn’t have taken up that particular job. Be thankful you were in a great film a lot of people supported.

  66. jenn says:

    @Runswithscissors -”I think the Producers played up Natalie, sure, but didn’t overtly diminish Lane’s contribution.”
    Of course they diminished her overall contribution. If they really appreciated (instead of begrudged) her contribution they would have credited her as a dancer/body double, not the weird crap they credited her for so they didn’t have to use the word “dance” in any way, shape or form when it came to one of the few dancers actually working on the movie.

  67. mia girl says:

    @ Jenny “they talked about the importance of her being able to do the dancing and see her suffering through the moves that made the story compelling.”

    I hear you, dancing counts because it is part of the total performance, but it is the believability of the dancing, not whether she actually mastered ballet or could handle the difficult moves. It was the commitment to even get to that place of believability that was being pointed out. We are all getting hung up on nuance… reviewers where not saying that because she pulled off a fouetté her performance is amazing and wins an Oscar. Everyone knew all along she did not do the difficult dance moves.

    Substitute that for what other actors have accomplished… being able to play the piano (The Pianist), being able to box (Million Dollar Baby), being able to show suffering as a drug addict (The Fighter). Those who actually do those things probably see the major holes in those performances, but those actors trained and worked hard enough to make their performances compelling and believable.

  68. anonymous says:

    This story if anyone care to note is about professional dancing the same life profession of Sarah lane the stunt double, Natalie did the acting but Sara who is really a professional ballet dancer did the dancing. It’s that simple, why oh why would anybody think Natalie P could dance like that it takes a person nearly 20 or more years to dance the way it was done in the movie. I think that people in Hollywood is so rich, beautiful they believe that thry are above mere mortals that we would and should believe anything they say or do, that could be the only explanation for their behavior. I happen to know a professional ballet dancer her muscle alone have been strethed to operate a certain way after so many years, Natalie Portman is just a liar.

  69. Anna says:

    According to, Natalie has taken dance lessons since she was 4. So let’s not pretend she went from 0 to 100 in a year. She had a lot of background and, like it or not, she worked her ass off for this role. I get that the ballet world is annoyed that she’s being praised for what they consider non-dancing, but Sarah Lane should have kept her mouth shut. There is NO way she didn’t know that she wasn’t going to get any credit. And she certainly won’t be getting any credit (or work in film) after this.

  70. Runs with Scissors says:

    @Jenn, yeah, that’s true, but I feel like even if they had put “body double” that would still feel “diminishing” and not enough to someone like Lane. Even “dancer” wouldn’t really work. But it’s very true that it still would have been better, and yeah, it would have been good if she’d been thanked in the Oscar speech as well. Still doesn’t seem like they actively hid Lane’s contribution, it was stated many times that NP didn’t do all the dancing, etc.

    As far as her not being encouraged to do interviews, this is par for the course, same reason they don’t encourage any stunt or body double to do interviews, it detracts from the fantasy, which detracts from the film.

  71. Ruffian9 says:

    Not sure why so many people seem to be losing their s**t over this. It’s a MOVIE, stuff ain’t real, let’s move ON already.

  72. Mikunda says:

    I agree with the posts that left friendly recommendations to Celebitchy on how to get better and better – you guys are doing a great job, but when you touch upon the serious stuff, be objective, not manipulative, please. It leaves a really bitter aftertaste.
    I do like your blog site a lot – I think your blogs are hilarious, fun and that’s what makes me come back for more.

    But sometimes you are unfair and try to blow things out of proportions, and unnecessarily.

    Natalie is a gifted actress, and she never pretended she did everything on the set. She got her Oscar for her hard work and great performance as an actress, not as a ballerina.

  73. Juu says:

    I’ve taken ballet when I was younger and I’m returning now as an adult. Yes it gives some background but nothing compared to a professional’s experience.

    Natalie was really great for a 18 month student, but it’s not enough to look like a prima ballerina. There were several little mistakes we students could see and it was obvious when there was a double in action.

    So my opinion is that both, Natalie and Sarah, worked hard in their respective profession. They are great and both deserve the merits. They shouldn’t act like Natalie did it all, though. Give the real dancer the merits and let this controverse die.

  74. truthzbetta says:

    The ballet community was really pumped about this movie and their enthusiasm had people believing Bitchface the Amazing had learned to dance plus do the going for the Oscar change-body-for-role because of how demanding the dance is.

    Meryl Streep actually learned how to play the violin like a concert violinist for a role. So yes, I thought that the ballet thing was primarily her. That’s what they made you think.

    Still thought it was an overwritten role that followed one of Arronovsky’s go-to plots.

    Figures. Another sham. The great Audrey Hepburn was spurned by Hollywood for an Oscar and in general for pulling a similar scam that at least everyone knew about ahead of time. And maybe Audrey couldn’t sing but she really was an actual ballet dancer.

    Scam. Audrey’s acting and presence was better but she didn’t sing so no Oscar. Streep really, really learned the violin so Oscar worthy greats can do it. This Portman thing wasn’t really earned, but hellova fake promo on the whole team’s part.

    So congrats for the Fraud, Team Portman-Arronovsky.

  75. ordinarygirl86 says:

    Natalie hasn’t said anything because she doesn’t give a flying fuck about the peasant ballerina who danced her scenes- she’s already got the OSCAR!

  76. fwozbo says:

    They (Hollywood) doth protest too much.

  77. Wens says:


  78. Newbie says:

    Oh, and the non-story? I wish it was over. And I wish Sarah Lane knew how stupid she is. She will never get a job as an extra or anything else in hollywood again. Good job, girl.

  79. tola says:

    I don’t get it Why is it so hard to say. THANK YOU for professional and beautiful dance because of the movie is better. It wouldn’t have any issue because Natalie played her role awesome, she’s great actress which she prove many times in her films.. But the move makers must also make Natalie next real ballerina saying she’d learnt something which another dancers takes years and years of hard work.
    Creating the Story of how much Portman trained and how difficult and grueling it all was, all to foster the illusion that she was so talented, smart, and determined that it was possible for her to master such advanced technique in such a short time ….
    Ballerina’s dance include whole body part, not just upper body – waving head and arms..
    In the movie dance has some part – beautiful part ;-) Give credit to dancer – she deserves it.
    If they take Santana to play guitar somewhere in the background, in the black corner, would they treat him in the end the same – like not important thing, not worth to mention – hand model. Sarah’s also an ARTIST – she’d worked hard to be ballerina many years. (according to wikipedia she won many competitions, and perform in national theater)
    It’s incredible how one artist can treat another artist borrow her talent, exactly treated like owns and do not even say Thank you.

  80. wunderkindt says:

    Mila Kunis cashing in on the gossip du jour just to get herself noticed?

    Oh, this never happens in Hollywood!!!

  81. wunderkindt says:

    The bottom line re all this?

    Nobody likes Natalie Portman!

    Why? Because she’s a dilettante-a cheesy no-tal wannabe. Even with an Oscar, she’s still an over reaching fake.

  82. Addie says:

    I really like Mila and all, but homegirl needs to shut up.
    Calling the REAL ballerina’s saftey nets? really?
    Without those “saftey nets” this movie would have been a disaster! GIVE THEM THEIR DUE!

    Also, I recall that on the Blue Crush dvd, they had clips of the actual surfer who was the body double for Kate Bosworth doing the stunts and explaining how she showed Kate THE BASICS.
    I really hope they do this with the Black Swan dvd in the making of the movie clips.

  83. helen says:

    Och, I’m tired of this. What I want to know is- how the hell did they manage getting Emily Blunt to be a super ballerina in The Adjustment Bureau? She is amazing, apparently has no previous dance training….anyone?

  84. Juu says:

    This Adjustment Bureau comment made me curious and I googled it. There’s an interview with Emily and surprise! She also had a double:

    “What was it like learning ballet?

    Emily Blunt: I think with ballet, and certain kinds of dance you work hard your whole life trying to find this ethereal perfection that you never can get, I remember one of the dancers I spoke to, she was actually my double in this, she said “I really believe that everything you go through in life can come out in your dance.” This kind of dance allows for that, it’s incredibly expressive and human. It was a wonderful experience, it allowed for mistake, but it was incredibly hard. The training was unreal (laughs). I hurt everyday…everyday (laughs).”

    She looks good on the trailers, though.

  85. Alis says:

    I agree that anyone who expects Portman to have done most of the dancing is naive, and she should be judged only on the quality of her acting. OF COURSE the double did most of it. Even in the ‘making of’ documentary you can see the actresses waving their arms around elegantly for the shot while their feet are almost walking through the steps. I hate the way Hollywood stars are built up into something almost super-human, brave, amazing etc. Give ANYBODY with good rhythm and a slim body a year of dance training and they can do what Portman did. That’s probably why she’s not blowing her own trumpet about how much she did etc. Give anyone 6 months of daily intense martial arts training and fitness and they can do an Angelina Jolie in Tomb Raider or Keanu Reeves in Matrix. They’re not super-talented, just lucky.

    I trained as a classical dancer for 12 years, from being a child, and from the earliest Black Swan publicity photos of Portman (for example, the one with her black tutu, her arms by her sides and her head turned over her shoulder) I could tell from the way she stood, her arms, even her hands, that she was not a trained dancer. Nobody, no matter how talented or how hard they work, can fake what those years of hard classical training do to your body, posture and movements. I haven’t seen the film and won’t for precisely this reason. I would be too distracted by her un-dancer-like body and movements and wouldn’t be able to suspend my disbelief enough to watch the film. They should have cast Summer Glau, who IS a trained classical dancer and can do falling-apart breakdown with the best of them.

  86. Patt says:

    “They should have cast Summer Glau, who IS a trained classical dancer and can do falling-apart breakdown with the best of them.”

    Glau would have been so much better!

    I had some college friends who started ballet late (in their early teens) and had about 5-7 years of training. Their dancing looked nowhere near professional. It takes someone with a very specific body type and serious training from early childhood to be a ballerina. Pretending that Portman did 80% of the dancing is just silly.

  87. MoMo says:

    I think Jason Alexander and company in the film adaptation of Love!Valour!Compassion! were more convincing Swan Lake ballerinas.

  88. Blank says:

    Love Summer Glau! She’s so pretty. I didn’t know that she was a prima ballerina, though. All the more reason to be jealous of her.