Natalie Portman’s stunt double has suggested that she did much of the dancing in Black Swan, and the non-controversy has been making the gossip rounds – leading to another double to suggest it was her backside in Your Highness. That was mostly debunked, and now Mila Kunis and Darren Aronofsky have stood up to defend Portman and her dance moves. Aronofsky sent out a press release, while Kunis talked to Entertainment Weekly and gave the money quote: “Natalie danced her a** off.”
Aronofsky and his editor counted the dance shots, and Aronofsky said that 80% were Portman, with 90% of the screen time of the dancing featuring Portman. Kunis talks about the safety net of having a double, and notes that no one involved with the film was suggesting that Portman did it all.
This story has gained some traction because it’s gossip – as I said before – and there are surely people who want to poo-poo Portman. Perhaps this is reasonable ammunition, but as Brian De Palma once said “The camera lies 24 frames a second” (which is a rebuttal of an old Jean-Luc Godard quote “The camera is truth at 24 frames per second”). Ultimately both De Palma and Godard are right. Cinema creates its own truth, but everything in it is manufactured to be there. If Portman created a believable reality to her dancing and audiences were fooled that it was all her, then that’s the art of cinema.
We may yet hear more, but with so many involved with the film throwing their support- overwhelmingly – to their leading lady the story should go away.
Do you find knowing about arguments like this distracting when watching a movie?