If you happen to be one of those people who read things about movies on the Internet -- and since you're reading this, it's safe to assume that you are one of those people -- you've surely heard about the entire 'Black Swan' controversy by now. For those of you who may have missed the news, here's what you need to know to catch up.
Entertainment Weekly broke the story: Ballerina Sarah Lane has gone on something of a warpath, claiming that she did most of the dancing for Natalie Portman's role and that the Oscar-winning actress only danced in close-ups, leaving her to do all but 5 percent of the major dance sequences (which saw Portman's head digitally grafted onto her body). Naturally, Ms. Lane thinks she deserves due credit, since many people (including Portman's choreographer fiancee) have emphasized Portman's dancing contributions.
And that's where a potential debate can begin.
How much credit is due someone whose one and only job on the film was to make the lead actress look capable of something else? Everyone knows that films are team efforts. Do you see individual camera operators attacking the director of photography after he wins an Oscar? Do you see stuntmen trying to take down Will Smith or Tom Cruise for claiming that they do all of their own stunts? No, you don't. Anyone with half a brain could have told you that Natalie Portman didn't do all of her dancing in 'Black Swan'. To do what her character accomplished requires a lifetime of training and dedication. Everyone and their mother knew some trickery was afoot.
In some ways, it's easy to sympathize with Lane. She undoubtedly worked hard and danced her ass off in the movie, and when you've got people involved in the film claiming that "85 percent of the movie is Natalie," sure, that can lead to sour grapes. However, Portman's raw, terrifying performance works on its own apart from the dancing; she won her Oscar for a reason, and Lane's public outcry feels like the petty whining of someone who has never worked on a movie before. 'Black Swan' is a film filled with subtle but amazing visual effects (check out the video below) and whether she likes it or not, Lane was hired to be one of those subtle but amazing visual effects. After all, special effects are at their best when you don't notice them.
That's one point of view. Use the comment section below to share your own thoughts on the matter and to bicker and debate back and forth as you see fit.
UPDATE: In a prepared statement handed to Entertainment Weekly, Darren Aronofsky responds to the ballerina debacle, stating ...
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.
Read the rest of his statement over at EW.