If you thought the controversy surrounding Natalie Portman and her Black Swan dance double Sarah Lane had been put to rest when director Darren Aronofsky went through the movie frame by frame to establish the exact number of dance scenes each woman did, well, you were wrong. Lane spoke out on 20/20 Friday night, arguing that Aronofksy’s math was off and explaining why she chose to speak out in the first place.
Lane says she’s not trying to undermine Portman’s Academy Award for Best Actress — in fact, she thinks Portman deserved it. She says she’s just trying to stick up for the ballet world as a whole and to make sure people understand that the dancing that appears in Black Swan takes 22 years of professional dedication and natural talent — not just a year and a half of training.
“I have so much respect for this art form and the people who are able to do it beautifully,” she told the cameras. “I want to stand up for them.”
At this point, Lane can’t help but come across a bit disgruntled — Portman didn’t even thank her in her acceptance speech — but we do think she has a point. Portman’s acting talent and hard work on Black Swan shouldn’t be undermined by the idea that a professional dancer needed to dance the film’s most complicated performances. And having the studio say that Portman was able to do “80%” of the dance scenes does a disservice to ballet. As for that math, Lane says Aronofsky was counting shots of Portman in which you could only see her face — shots Lane thinks shouldn’t be considered “dance” shots.
For our part, we think this should just be put to rest. But we’d also like to make one thing clear — this isn’t a battle between Portman and Lane. It’s a battle between Lane and the studio-funded marketing machine behind Black Swan.