Sarah Lane, Natalie Portman’s Body Double in “Black Swan”: “Of the full body shots, I would say 5 percent are Natalie. All the other shots are me”

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Sarah Lane Black SwanAt the very heart of the Oscar campaign for Natalie Portman’s role in Black Swan, were the repeated interviews recalling the year and a half of preparation required for her to believably portray a prima ballerina. Sarah Lane, 27 a soloist with American Ballet Theatre, is the ballerina who doubled for Natalie Portman in her Oscar-winning role. Credited merely as “stunt double” and “hand double”, Lane is now speaking out about the true extent of her work in the film. “Of the full body shots, I would say 5 percent are Natalie,” says Lane. “All the other shots are me.”

In a March 23 L.A. Times article, Portman’s fiancé and Black Swan choreographer, Benjamin Millepied dismissed  Lane’s claims. “There are articles now talking about her dance double Sarah Lane that are making it sound like she did a lot of the work, but really, she just did the footwork, and the fouettés, and one diagonal in the studio. Honestly, 85 percent of that movie is Natalie.”

“The shots that are just her face with arms, those shots are definitely Natalie,” Lane says. “But that doesn’t show the actual dancing.” Lane claims she was told not to discuss her work with the press, though there is no such clause in her contract. “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? From a professional dancer’s standpoint, she doesn’t look like a professional ballet dancer at all, she can’t dance in pointe shoes, and she can’t move her body; she’s very stiff. I do give her a lot of credit, she lost a lot of weight and she really tried to go method and get into a dancers head and really feel like a ballet dancer.”

Insisting there is no malice or jealousy behind her statements, Lane says, “Natalie is an amazing actress, for sure. I know that it’s not a personal thing against me. I know that it’s just a political thing. It’s just unfortunate that I kind of lost credit.”

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