A claim by Natalie Portman’s ballet double from the movie Black Swan alleging that the Oscar-winning actress did not perform the majority of that film’s dance sequences has quickly been challenged. Sarah Lane, the American Ballet Theatre soloist who doubled for Portman during some of that film’s most difficult dance sequences, told Entertainment Weekly that the Oscar-winning actress did only 5 percent “of the full body shots” in the film. But the filmmakers insist that simply isn’t the case, saying in a joint statement released by Fox Searchlight, “We were fortunate to have Sarah there to cover the more complicated dance sequences and we have nothing but praise for the hard work she did. However, Natalie herself did most of the dancing featured in the final film.”
Lane decided to speak out after a recent story in the Los Angeles Times quoted Portman’s fiancé and Black Swan choreographer Benjamin Millipied saying “85 percent of that movie is Natalie.” “They wanted to create this idea in people’s minds that Natalie was some kind of prodigy or so gifted in dance and really worked so hard to make herself a ballerina in a year and a half for the movie, basically because of the Oscar,” Lane told EW. “It is demeaning to the profession and not just to me. I’ve been doing this for 22 years…. Can you become a concert pianist in a year and a half, even if you’re a movie star?”
In interviews, Portman didn’t hide the fact that she had used a body double for key sequences in the film. “I do have a double for the complicated turning stuff,” Portman told EW last November. “It was not anything 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.”
Portman has yet to respond to Lane’s remarks.