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Darren Aronofsky Defends Natalie Portman

Natalie Portman

Contrary to reports, the actress did "111" of the 139 dance shots in "Black Swan," the director says.

Black Swan director  Darren Aronofsky is defending Natalie Portman after her double in the film has claimed that the actress only did “five percent” of the full-body dance shots in her Oscar-winning performance.

In a statement, Aronofsky told THR Monday:   “Here is the reality. I had my editor count shots. There are 139 dance shots in the film. 111 are Natalie Portman untouched. 28 are her dance double Sarah Lane. If you do the math that’s 80% Natalie Portman. What about duration? The shots that feature the double are wide shots and rarely play for longer than one second. There are two complicated longer dance sequences that we used face replacement. Even so, if we were judging by time over 90% would be Natalie Portman.   "And to be clear Natalie did dance on pointe in pointe shoes," the statement goes on. "If you look at the final shot of the opening prologue, which lasts 85 seconds, and was danced completely by Natalie, she exits the scene on pointe. That is completely her without any digital magic. I am responding to this to put this to rest and to defend my actor. Natalie sweated long and hard to deliver a great physical and emotional performance. And I don’t want anyone to think that’s not her they are watching. It is.”   Sarah Lane, the American Ballet Theatre soloist who worked with Portman during shooting, previously told EW that producers "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.”   She even claimed that producer Ari Handel specifically told her not to talk about her work to the press, even though she claims there was no such stipulation in her contract, EW reports.   Said Lane, “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?”