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Body Double Sarah Lane Slams Portman's Dancing in 'Black Swan'

Michael Santo's picture

Natalie Portman won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her work in "Black Swan," but that shouldn't include any credit for her dancing in the film, according to her body double, Sarah Lane.

In this case, Sarah Lane, Portman's body double, told "Entertainment Weekly" that the public has been misled about the amount of dancing in the film that was truly Natalie Portman. Lane said, "Of the full body shots, I would say 5 percent are Natalie. I mean, from a professional dancer's standpoint, she doesn't look like a professional ballet dancer at all and she can't dance in pointe shoes. And she can't move her body; she's very stiff."

Sarah Lane, 27, is an American Ballet Theatre soloist. She said she performed many of the film’s complicated dance sequences, and allowed Portman’s face to be digitally added to her body, in place of her own.

Lane's statement came after those of Natalie Portman's fiance, father of the child she is currently carrying, and "Black Swan" choreographer Benjamin Millepied, who told the L.A. Times earlier that, "There are articles now talking about her dance double [Sarah Lane] that are making it sound like [Lane] did a lot of the work. Honestly, 85 percent of that movie is Natalie." Of course, Millepied can hard be called unbiased in his statements.

Sarah Lane added that that Black Swan producer Ari Handel specifically told her not to talk about the work she did in the move to the press. However, Lane states there was no such stipulation in her contract, which is why she is speaking about it now. She added that although she was never promised a specific title in the credits for her six weeks of work on the movie, she was disappointed to see that she is credited only as as “Hand Model,” “Stunt Double,” and “Lady in the Lane” (which was a brief walk-on role).

Lane said that, “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. 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?”

The Black Swan criticism is reminiscent of a similar incident that followed the film Flashdance. In that film, which became a hit, it was later revealed that Marine Jahan was an uncredited body double for actress Jennifer Beals. The producers of the film stated it was never a secret that they had used a stunt double for the dancing in the film, and that the reason Jahan was left off the credits was due to a shortening of the ending credits.

Image source: Wikipedia

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