Author Topic: Natalie Portman and her Stand-In  (Read 12673 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

General Jinjur

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1679
  • This is serious business!
Natalie Portman and her Stand-In
« on: April 05, 2011, 10:24:49 AM »
Or "stunt person"? I don't know how to refer to her. Anyway, a ballerina performed the dancing in "Black Swan," and the magic of CGI put Portman's face on her body. This was clearly shown in a special effects video circulating the internet. However, the studio put the kibosh on that, squashing the video and asking the ballerina in question not to give any interviews about what she was actually doing on the movie. This raised some outrage from dance people, who were annoyed that the studio was pretending that Portman just worked reaaaally hard for a year and became a ballerina capable of doing a challenging ballet.

And then, Portman did not thank her dance double when she received her Oscar.

I don't think the etiquette question is about the studio so much. Obfuscation in the name of suspension of disbelief is par for the course. However, should Portman have thanked the woman who did the actual physical work when she received her award? Or is the ballerina in question not really an important part of her performance?

I'm inclined to think that Portman was not in the wrong for not thanking the woman. She presumably won the Oscar on the strength of her acting, not because the Academy was so impressed with her dancing. That said, it would have been kind to at least mention her.

TurtleDove

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5616
Re: Natalie Portman and her Stand-In
« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2011, 10:41:14 AM »
Portman won the award because of her acting.  It was not an award for "Best Dancer."  I think the body double is out of line.

Ms_Shell

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3804
Re: Natalie Portman and her Stand-In
« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2011, 10:45:50 AM »
You know, I was wondering about that.  It seemed really odd to me that a lead role requiring 15+ years of intense training could be mastered in a year.  If it was that easy, a lot more people could do it.

That being said, I think they're thinking the dancer was more like a stunt double and they don't usually get thanked.  
"I've never been a millionaire, but I just know I'd be darling at it." - Dorothy Parker

Judah

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4769
  • California, U.S.A
Re: Natalie Portman and her Stand-In
« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2011, 10:48:58 AM »
I've never seen an actor thank their stunt double.  Do you remember Flashdance?  Same exact thing happened then.
Ask for what you want. Let's be clear on this one:
Subtle hints don't work.
Strong hints don't work.
Really obvious hints don't work.
Just say it!

-The Car Talk Guys

Bibliophile

  • May have been the losing side. Still not convinced it was the wrong one.
  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 12025
Re: Natalie Portman and her Stand-In
« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2011, 10:50:20 AM »
I think they went back & looked at the film & Natalie did 90-95% of the dancing that was shown in the film.  It seems like sour grapes & a publicity stunt by the stunt double.  I find it rude on the double's part, no one else.

“Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others.” ~ Groucho Marx

Twik

  • A Pillar of the Forum
  • *****
  • Posts: 28291
Re: Natalie Portman and her Stand-In
« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2011, 10:58:42 AM »
Portman won the award because of her acting.  It was not an award for "Best Dancer."  I think the body double is out of line.

Exactly. If it were a dancing award, that would be a different matter, but I'm sure the stunt ballerina did not contribute anything to her acting.

Ms Portman also, I'm sure, didn't mention by name the special effects people who did the superimposition. There is a limited amount of time to thank the hundreds of people who work on a film.
My cousin's memoir of love and loneliness while raising a child with multiple disabilities will be out on Amazon soon! Know the Night, by Maria Mutch, has been called "full of hope, light, and companionship for surviving the small hours of the night."

jimithing

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 19737
  • Life Is Too Short to Wear a Bad Outfit!
Re: Natalie Portman and her Stand-In
« Reply #6 on: April 05, 2011, 11:13:50 AM »
99% percent of actors use stand-ins and stunt doubles. This isn't surprising. And I do believe that Portman did a fair share of the dancing. I've seen repeated interviews by all the actors, and they have all said, numerous times, how hard they trained. I do believe they trained very hard, but were not going to be able to get to the level of the characters in the movie.

BTW, OP, do you have a link to this article about this?

OK, found one: http://dancemagazine.com/blogs/wendy/3741
« Last Edit: April 05, 2011, 11:16:20 AM by jimithing »

Julia S

  • Guest
Re: Natalie Portman and her Stand-In
« Reply #7 on: April 05, 2011, 11:15:35 AM »
I've never seen an actor thank their stunt double.  Do you remember Flashdance?  Same exact thing happened then.

Jeff Bridges thanked his double (of 40 years) Loyd Catlett last year at the Globes.

drebay

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3788
  • drebay does not stand for Dr Ebay!
Re: Natalie Portman and her Stand-In
« Reply #8 on: April 05, 2011, 11:49:23 AM »
I did think of Flashdance first (because of the dancing), but as stated above, stunt people have always been "invisible"  Cue to Lee Majors singing "The Unknown Stuntman" from that TV show.

Bibliophile

  • May have been the losing side. Still not convinced it was the wrong one.
  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 12025
Re: Natalie Portman and her Stand-In
« Reply #9 on: April 05, 2011, 11:55:34 AM »
I did think of Flashdance first (because of the dancing), but as stated above, stunt people have always been "invisible"  Cue to Lee Majors singing "The Unknown Stuntman" from that TV show.

Curse you Drebay!!!!  This song was in my head for 2 weeks and I finally got rid of it until you brought it up again!  LOL  "I might fall from a tall building...."

“Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others.” ~ Groucho Marx

Ceiling Fan

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2236
Re: Natalie Portman and her Stand-In
« Reply #10 on: April 05, 2011, 12:02:22 PM »
Hmm, one of the first things I read about Black Swan was an interview with the dancer herself (just stumbled upon it). So I guess her 15 minutes of fame wasn't enough?

sugar pie

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 662
Re: Natalie Portman and her Stand-In
« Reply #11 on: April 05, 2011, 12:34:41 PM »
(First post. Hi all!)

I actually think this situation is more a matter of poor ethics than etiquette. The studio, in the course of promoting the film when it was released and during awards season, really tried to make it sound as if Portman had somehow mastered the art of ballet, and that like her character in the film, had undergone a radical transformation of mind and body. They did that for the buzz. That's unethical, and I think professional dancers have a right to be miffed by that.

That said, Portman wasn't obligated to thank her dance double during her acceptance speech by any rules of etiquette. Presumably, Academy voters aren't quite so gullible as to think an actor did all that and were influenced to vote for her on the strength of her acting. But the studio and the director still trying to minimize the dance double's contribution now that award season it over and after admitting that they digitally grafted Portman's face on the double's body is just plain tacky (I personally don't believe Aronofsky's claim that Portman did 80-90% of the dancing).

General Jinjur

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1679
  • This is serious business!
Re: Natalie Portman and her Stand-In
« Reply #12 on: April 05, 2011, 12:43:51 PM »
Apparently Portman did the arm work for the most part, but the feet belong to her double. Which makes sense; ballerinas train their whole lives for this ballet, no way could she do it in a year, no matter how dedicated. I have no doubt she busted her rear for the film, but the training just gave her the appropriate body and demeanor of a dancer; it didn't transform her into a prima ballerina.

I don't see anything wrong with that, personally - she's an actress, not a dancer - so I don't quite understand why the studio doesn't want people to know this. I guess it's just about preserving the illusion. But actors have always used doubles to do things they couldn't - Natalie Wood didn't sing a note in "West Side Story," for example - and I doubt they publicly acknowledged them when receiving accolades. So surely the dancer didn't expect her case would be different?

ETA: I don't buy the assertion that she did 80-90% of the dancing either. I just don't think it's possible - it takes YEARS just to go on pointe, how could she possibly have managed it in such a short time frame? It doesn't make sense.
« Last Edit: April 05, 2011, 12:46:44 PM by coffeebreak »

Ceiling Fan

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2236
Re: Natalie Portman and her Stand-In
« Reply #13 on: April 05, 2011, 12:47:10 PM »
Marnie Nixon, just sayin. ;)

drebay

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3788
  • drebay does not stand for Dr Ebay!
Re: Natalie Portman and her Stand-In
« Reply #14 on: April 05, 2011, 12:50:03 PM »
I did think of Flashdance first (because of the dancing), but as stated above, stunt people have always been "invisible"  Cue to Lee Majors singing "The Unknown Stuntman" from that TV show.

Curse you Drebay!!!!  This song was in my head for 2 weeks and I finally got rid of it until you brought it up again!  LOL  "I might fall from a tall building...."

Sowwrry...