Author Topic: Natalie Portman and her Stand-In  (Read 11951 times)

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Sabbyfrog2

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Re: Natalie Portman and her Stand-In
« Reply #30 on: April 05, 2011, 02:53:04 PM »
The intro - the entire 85 seconds, including leaving on pointe - was done by Natalie, per the director.  http://perezhilton.com/2011-03-29-aronofsky-ends-portman-argument

Have you seen the film, though? The way the opening sequence is edited, there is a large margin of error for the dancer. There are lots of close ups and quick cuts.

So what? That's called filmmaking.
The edits and quick cuts are actually part of the mood the director was trying to create. It's part of the illusion they are trying to get us to buy into. The edits likely would have been the same regardless of who was actually doing the dancing. There may have been some different poses depending on who it was but the pace would have been the same.
And, the movie wasn't supposed to focus on the 'dancing' anyway. It wasn't a "dance" movie.
It was a physiological thriller about dancing. The dancing is a secondary factor to the acting and the story. So whether or not the choreography allowed for a margin of error is irrelevant IMO. It didn't change the effect the movie had.


I'm not denying that Portman danced and did a good job, but Lane did all of the difficult (and key) pieces, and it really bothers me that she's been told to shut up about it.

It's in her contract to shut up about it. If she wasn't kosher with that deal, then she shouldn't have signed.  I just don't agree that Natalie, or the studio, has anything to apologize for. This is Hollywood's oldest trick... using body doubles and stunt doubles. The doubles get paid very well to be "invisible" and to continue the illusion that we are watching the actor and not a stunt double. That's their job. They don't get the notoriety that the starts get but they also don't have to deal with the scrutiny either. If they don't like the terms of the agreement, then they have the option to negotiate for better or walk away from the deal and let someone else have the job. You don't get to cry foul AFTER the movie is made and you've cashed the producers check.

This dancer is just looking to make a name for herself IMO. Otherwise, she would have taken her money, and her newly updated resume, and just continued dancing. Methinks this is a dancer looking to crossover into Hollywood, or her professional dancing career isn't going so hot, and she starting this debate is her way of getting herself some press.

Sharnita

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Re: Natalie Portman and her Stand-In
« Reply #31 on: April 05, 2011, 03:00:23 PM »
I haven't seen her contract - is it actually out there and does it actually say that she can't speak publically about how much of the dancing she did?

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Re: Natalie Portman and her Stand-In
« Reply #32 on: April 05, 2011, 03:01:20 PM »
I'm not denying that Portman danced and did a good job, but Lane did all of the difficult (and key) pieces, and it really bothers me that she's been told to shut up about it.

I agree with SabbyFrog - that's the way it's always been. At one time, body doubles and stunt people would not even have been given a credit at the end of the movie. I don't think that Portman won the Oscar because the voters thought she was doing all her own dancing, but for her acting when she *wasn't* dancing.

If the dancer wants to stand at the podium on Oscar night, she should have chosen acting lessons rather than dancing ones.
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Re: Natalie Portman and her Stand-In
« Reply #33 on: April 05, 2011, 03:05:16 PM »
The intro - the entire 85 seconds, including leaving on pointe - was done by Natalie, per the director.  http://perezhilton.com/2011-03-29-aronofsky-ends-portman-argument

Have you seen the film, though? The way the opening sequence is edited, there is a large margin of error for the dancer. There are lots of close ups and quick cuts.

So what? That's called filmmaking.
The edits and quick cuts are actually part of the mood the director was trying to create. It's part of the illusion they are trying to get us to buy into. The edits likely would have been the same regardless of who was actually doing the dancing. There may have been some different poses depending on who it was but the pace would have been the same.

My point was that people are acting like Portman's a prima ballerina who'd fit in at the Bolshoi, and a lot of that is based on the work of someone else. The work she did wasn't as complex. According to Millepied, Lane did, "the footwork, and the fouettés, and one diagonal [phrase] in the studio". Well, yeah, and that's the hard stuff.

I'm not denying that Portman danced and did a good job, but Lane did all of the difficult (and key) pieces, and it really bothers me that she's been told to shut up about it.

It's in her contract to shut up about it. If she wasn't kosher with that deal, then she shouldn't have signed.  I just don't agree that Natalie, or the studio, has anything to apologize for. This is Hollywood's oldest trick... using body doubles and stunt doubles. The doubles get paid very well to be "invisible" and to continue the illusion that we are watching the actor and not a stunt double. That's their job. They don't get the notoriety that the starts get but they also don't have to deal with the scrutiny either. If they don't like the terms of the agreement, then they have the option to negotiate for better or walk away from the deal and let someone else have the job. You don't get to cry foul AFTER the movie is made and you've cashed the producers check.

But was it in her contract to shut up, or did the studios ask her to do that after the film started to get a lot of Oscar buzz? According to Lane, there was nothing about that in her contract.

When we watch a film with stunt doubles, we pretend they are the same person as the main actor, who we are pretending is his character. The studios are not.

Furthermore, in all of the articles that I've found, Lane's side of the story came out AFTER reporters started talking about her role and people like Arronofsky and Millepied jumped into the fray downplaying how much Lane did.

http://insidemovies.ew.com/2011/03/25/portman-black-swan-double/
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Wonderflonium

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Re: Natalie Portman and her Stand-In
« Reply #34 on: April 05, 2011, 03:07:41 PM »
I'm not denying that Portman danced and did a good job, but Lane did all of the difficult (and key) pieces, and it really bothers me that she's been told to shut up about it.

I agree with SabbyFrog - that's the way it's always been. At one time, body doubles and stunt people would not even have been given a credit at the end of the movie. I don't think that Portman won the Oscar because the voters thought she was doing all her own dancing, but for her acting when she *wasn't* dancing.

If the dancer wants to stand at the podium on Oscar night, she should have chosen acting lessons rather than dancing ones.

But in the past, people didn't actively deny the stunt doubles. They may not have been mentioned, but there was no pretending they didn't exist. That's my problem; they denied the work Lane did to help Portman in her Oscar run. Given that, I think the gracious thing to do would have been to thank Lane. (Truly the best thing would have been for Arronofsky and Millepied to have kept their mouths shut when people started writing about Lane's work instead of trying to downplay it. Lane only spoke out AFTER that.)
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Sabbyfrog2

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Re: Natalie Portman and her Stand-In
« Reply #35 on: April 05, 2011, 03:11:46 PM »
I haven't seen her contract - is it actually out there and does it actually say that she can't speak publically about how much of the dancing she did?

Honestly, no one here knows for sure, but having worked in the industry myself, I have no doubt there is. If there isn't, then the people on the movies end messed up big time.
Even if there isn't though, it's still quite uncouth for the dancer to start this. Why now? Why not while she was filming if she had such a problem with it? Why AFTER Portman won the Oscar? Would she have started all this had Portman not won? Somehow I doubt it.
Also, by starting all this, she is now potentially ruining the movie and the effect it's going to have on future viewers. By her stating that "that person dancing in this scene isn't Natalie but ME!", she is breaking the illusion. Part of my enjoyment of the movie was how easy it was for me to believe it was Natalie and it added to my investment in her character. This made me the movie effect me more emotionally. I *knew* that there was a double but I was able to suspend my belief because it was edited so seamlessly and acted so well. With this dancer in the back of my head now, it's going to be hard for me to suspend that reality and really enjoy the movie when I get it on DVD. It's tainted for me now.

Sharnita

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Re: Natalie Portman and her Stand-In
« Reply #36 on: April 05, 2011, 03:14:39 PM »
I haven't seen her contract - is it actually out there and does it actually say that she can't speak publically about how much of the dancing she did?

Honestly, no one here knows for sure, but having worked in the industry myself, I have no doubt there is. If there isn't, then the people on the movies end messed up big time.
Even if there isn't though, it's still quite uncouth for the dancer to start this. Why now? Why not while she was filming if she had such a problem with it? Why AFTER Portman won the Oscar? Would she have started all this had Portman not won? Somehow I doubt it.
Also, by starting all this, she is now potentially ruining the movie and the effect it's going to have on future viewers. By her stating that "that person dancing in this scene isn't Natalie but ME!", she is breaking the illusion. Part of my enjoyment of the movie was how easy it was for me to believe it was Natalie and it added to my investment in her character. This made me the movie effect me more emotionally. I *knew* that there was a double but I was able to suspend my belief because it was edited so seamlessly and acted so well. With this dancer in the back of my head now, it's going to be hard for me to suspend that reality and really enjoy the movie when I get it on DVD. It's tainted for me now.

But has she started it?  I thought it was in response to claims made about how much NP did.  If it is in response that explains "why now".  If there are inaccurate claims about how much NP did being made now her response would be now.

Miss March

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Re: Natalie Portman and her Stand-In
« Reply #37 on: April 05, 2011, 03:19:14 PM »
On the Black Swan DVD in the special features, there are a few segments where they openly demonstrate how they digitally placed Portman's head and/or her head and upper torso over the face/torso of  Ms. Lane-- so while they may have tried to keep those secrets off the internet pre-Oscar, they are being pretty upfront about what was done after the fact.
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Re: Natalie Portman and her Stand-In
« Reply #38 on: April 05, 2011, 03:22:10 PM »
I haven't seen her contract - is it actually out there and does it actually say that she can't speak publically about how much of the dancing she did?

Honestly, no one here knows for sure, but having worked in the industry myself, I have no doubt there is. If there isn't, then the people on the movies end messed up big time.
Even if there isn't though, it's still quite uncouth for the dancer to start this. Why now? Why not while she was filming if she had such a problem with it? Why AFTER Portman won the Oscar? Would she have started all this had Portman not won? Somehow I doubt it.
Also, by starting all this, she is now potentially ruining the movie and the effect it's going to have on future viewers. By her stating that "that person dancing in this scene isn't Natalie but ME!", she is breaking the illusion. Part of my enjoyment of the movie was how easy it was for me to believe it was Natalie and it added to my investment in her character. This made me the movie effect me more emotionally. I *knew* that there was a double but I was able to suspend my belief because it was edited so seamlessly and acted so well. With this dancer in the back of my head now, it's going to be hard for me to suspend that reality and really enjoy the movie when I get it on DVD. It's tainted for me now.

But has she started it?  I thought it was in response to claims made about how much NP did.  If it is in response that explains "why now".  If there are inaccurate claims about how much NP did being made now her response would be now.

In all of the articles I've read, the timeline goes like this:

1. Reporters write stories on the use of a dance double as an interesting little factoid about the movie.
2. Arronofsky and Millepied start going on about how the dancing is almost all Portman and downplaying Lane's contribution (specifically saying she "only" did x, y, and z, when x, y, and z are the hardest parts).
3. Lane sets to correct the record not so much for herself but because it's really disrespectful to the profession as a whole to pretend that someone can do all of that work after only a year and a half, even if they have some experience. For the record, Lane also says that Portman worked her tail off and did a good job.

To me, that's not Lane starting it.

On the Black Swan DVD in the special features, there are a few segments where they openly demonstrate how they digitally placed Portman's head and/or her head and upper torso over the face/torso of  Ms. Lane-- so while they may have tried to keep those secrets off the internet pre-Oscar, they are being pretty upfront about what was done after the fact.

And now they are trying to suppress that stuff, which is out and out shady.
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Sabbyfrog2

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Re: Natalie Portman and her Stand-In
« Reply #39 on: April 05, 2011, 03:34:06 PM »
I haven't seen her contract - is it actually out there and does it actually say that she can't speak publically about how much of the dancing she did?

Honestly, no one here knows for sure, but having worked in the industry myself, I have no doubt there is. If there isn't, then the people on the movies end messed up big time.
Even if there isn't though, it's still quite uncouth for the dancer to start this. Why now? Why not while she was filming if she had such a problem with it? Why AFTER Portman won the Oscar? Would she have started all this had Portman not won? Somehow I doubt it.
Also, by starting all this, she is now potentially ruining the movie and the effect it's going to have on future viewers. By her stating that "that person dancing in this scene isn't Natalie but ME!", she is breaking the illusion. Part of my enjoyment of the movie was how easy it was for me to believe it was Natalie and it added to my investment in her character. This made me the movie effect me more emotionally. I *knew* that there was a double but I was able to suspend my belief because it was edited so seamlessly and acted so well. With this dancer in the back of my head now, it's going to be hard for me to suspend that reality and really enjoy the movie when I get it on DVD. It's tainted for me now.

But has she started it?  I thought it was in response to claims made about how much NP did.  If it is in response that explains "why now".  If there are inaccurate claims about how much NP did being made now her response would be now.

Didn't the whole thing start with a magazine article written in a dance magazine about Lane? If so, then yes, I will say that Lane started it by saying how much she did vs Natalie in the movie in the interview. Why was that necassary? It's a movie. It's fantasy. The point is suspended reality.


But in the past, people didn't actively deny the stunt doubles. They may not have been mentioned, but there was no pretending they didn't exist. That's my problem; they denied the work Lane did to help Portman in her Oscar run. Given that, I think the gracious thing to do would have been to thank Lane. (Truly the best thing would have been for Arronofsky and Millepied to have kept their mouths shut when people started writing about Lane's work instead of trying to downplay it. Lane only spoke out AFTER that.)

But no one pretended she didn't exist. It's even on the DVD as a special feature. They just didn't give her the 95% credit she claims she deserves. And for all we know, maybe she did do as much as she says. Or maybe she didn't. We have no way of knowing and frankly, I don't care. I loved the movie for the acting. The dancing was really secondary (although I do appreciate that they tried to keep it as believeable and precise as possible). It helped me buy into the story but the dancing wasn't the end all be all of the movie.


My point was that people are acting like Portman's a prima ballerina who'd fit in at the Bolshoi, and a lot of that is based on the work of someone else. The work she did wasn't as complex. According to Millepied, Lane did, "the footwork, and the fouettés, and one diagonal [phrase] in the studio". Well, yeah, and that's the hard stuff.

But if that is truly all she did then in reality that's only a small percentage of the overall dancing in the movie. And yeah, that's the hard stuff that Natalie said she had a double for. So how did they downplay her role in that case?

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Re: Natalie Portman and her Stand-In
« Reply #40 on: April 05, 2011, 03:55:43 PM »
For the record, here's how things played out (with some, but not all, relevant articles cited):

December, 2010: Sarah Lane does an interview with Dance Magazine. When asked, "And how does it feel to be part of a performance that some critics are giving Natalie Portman rave reviews for?", she replies, "I’m not really looking for any sort of recognition. The process was a huge learning experience and I got everything I wanted out of it. But she deserves the recognition. She worked really hard."

Sometime in there, Fox Searchlight pulls/blocks the footage showing how Portman's face was superimposed on Lane's body.

March 3, 2011: Wendy Perron posts a blog about the "black out" and the fact that this knowledge was being hidden.

March 11, 2011: Wendy Perron (NOT Sarah Lane) posts another blog about the cover-up of Lane's work. In it, she quotes Lane as referring to the illusion that Portman did all the dancing as a facade intended to enhance the movie and saying that she didn't expect to be thanked. According to the author, Lane didn't realize until right before the Oscars how much of her footage they used. Wendy Perron, the author of the blog, is the one who uses terms like "exploited" and who is upset. Sarah Lane is just worried about how ballerinas in general are seen.

March 23, 2011: Benjamin Millepied opens his cake hole downplays Sarah Lane's work in an article in the LA Times.

March 25, 2011: An article appears on the EW web site quoting a more in depth interview with Millepied in which he said, "There are articles now talking about her dance double [American Ballet Theatre dancer Sarah Lane] that are making it sound like [Lane] did a lot of the work, but really, she just did the footwork, and the fouettés, and one diagonal [phrase] in the studio,” he said. “Honestly, 85 percent of that movie is Natalie.” [emphasis mine; I'd have to say a good bit of the dancing shown was the footwork] This article is also the first one that I can find where Lane herself specifically addresses how much dancing she did, responding "Lane disagrees. “The shots that are just her face with arms, those shots are definitely Natalie,” she says. “But that doesn’t show the actual dancing.”
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Re: Natalie Portman and her Stand-In
« Reply #41 on: April 05, 2011, 06:10:49 PM »
Personally, I don't really care one way or the other (I haven't seen Black Swan and I don't plan to) but I think it would've been classy if Natalie Portman had thanked her dance stand-in at the Oscars.

It's kind of the same thing with movie Flashdance. It eventually came out that a woman named Marine Jahan did practically all of the dancing in the movie and Jennifer Beals hardly did any of it. I get that movies are make believe but that doesn't mean actors and actresses should be ungrateful to their stunt doubles and stand ins. Just my opinion.

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Re: Natalie Portman and her Stand-In
« Reply #42 on: April 05, 2011, 06:47:05 PM »
Meh... I thought the original Lane interview sounded pretty witchy and dismissive.

On a completely unrelated note, I do all my own stunts... If you ever need a stuntwoman, call this girl  ;D
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Re: Natalie Portman and her Stand-In
« Reply #43 on: April 05, 2011, 07:09:18 PM »
I don't know what the contract said, but she was paid to be a dance double, not an actress, and certainly not the star. To be so involved with 'setting the record straight' seems unprofessional to me. It would be like a ghost writer going around saying "oh yeah, that best seller, by 'barely literate celebrity'? That was me".

If you understand before you sign the contract that some CGI wizzard is going to be pasting someone's head on your body, I don't think you can have any illusions about your 'place' in the film. People who care about dance knows who she is and what she did, she should be content with that. There's nothing 'unfair' about it.

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Re: Natalie Portman and her Stand-In
« Reply #44 on: April 05, 2011, 08:02:27 PM »
That scene where she is stretching in her apartment and she puts her leg up to the ceiling while keeping her face down-- that wasn't Natalie, right? That couldn't have been. Only a professional dancer could possibably stretch to that degree!

I think Natalie is a good actress. And I think Ms. Lane is a great dancer. I don't for a moment imagine that Natalie herself was doing the more complex moves. The way CGI is so flawless these days, I just always assumed it was someone else. I was still pleased she won the Oscar, though.

On a side note, Jeff Bridges seems like a really classy fellow.
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