Photo Credit: ABC
Natalie Portman is sidestepping the controversy over whether she did her own dancing in Black Swan -- but her ballet double, Sarah Lane, isn't done talking. On Friday night's episode of 20/20, the American Ballet Theatre dancer stood by her claim that she did 95 percent of Portman's dancing in the Oscar-winning film. Watch the segment below:
In the 20/20 clip, Lane recreates some of the dance moves that she did for Portman in the film, and explains how she was banned from speaking to the press during Portman's very successful Oscar campaign. Most revealingly, 20/20 shows footage of Lane dancing Black Swan's stunning finale -- and then Portman's face being digitally superimposed on Lane's body. The final effect is eerie; it's literally impossible to tell that Portman isn't doing the scene herself. No wonder everyone is so confused.
"This is all me," explains Lane, looking at the footage. "You can actually see my face sometimes. Full-body shots are me dancing. That's why they hired me."
Even the film's editor, who attempted to count the shots to determine how much dancing Natalie did, says he can't really say for sure.
"There are about 35 shots that are full-body shots in the movie," he tells 20/20. "Of those 35 shots, 12 are Natalie, and then the rest are Sarah. But over the overall film, Natalie did a lot more than that... It was sometimes hard for me to tell the difference as the editor, it was so close."
Obviously, Portman worked hard to play a convincing ballerina, and her physical training contributed immeasurably to her performance in Black Swan. And Sarah Lane says she's not trying to get Portman's Oscar revoked.
"I definitely think that she deserves (the Oscar)," Lane says. "I'm just speaking because they're completely lying about the amount of dancing Natalie did in the movie."
Her concern, she says, is that film fans don't understand the lifetime of dedication it takes to become a professional ballet dancer -- because they bought into the story that Portman did it in a year and a half. Lane, for example, has been dancing since she was 4 years old, usually putting in five nine-hour days a week.
"I've been doing this for 22 years," she says. "And to say that someone trained for a year and a half and did what I did is degrading not only to me but to the entire ballet world."
On the other hand, the entire point of a movie is to convince the audience that what they're seeing is real. Is it really a bad thing if Black Swan's movie magic worked a little too well?