Natalie Portman Stays (Mostly) Silent on 'Black Swan' Controversy

Promoting her new film, "Your Highness," Portman won't discuss dancing double.

April 8, 2011 — -- Ahead of the release of "Your Highness," out today, Natalie Portman talked about many things, like her upcoming baby and her views on marijuana ("I love stoner comedies. I smoked weed in college, but I haven't smoked in years," she told Entertainment Weekly).

But the one thing she's remained tight-lipped about is the controversy around her "Black Swan" dancing double, Sarah Lane, who said last month that she did the work that won Portman a best-actress Oscar for her starring role in the film.

"I had a chance to make something beautiful with this film, and I don't want to give in to the gossip," Portman told E! News Wednesday when asked about Lane. One of Lane's gripes is that Portman didn't thank her in her Oscar acceptance speech, but Portman said she doesn't "remember my Oscar speech at all, and I'm actually too embarrassed to watch it."

In March, Lane, a soloist with the American Ballet Theatre, told Entertainment Weekly that the public had been misled about how much dancing Portman did in "Black Swan."

"On the full-body shots, I would say 5 percent are Natalie," Lane said. "I mean, from a professional dancer's standpoint, she doesn't look like a professional ballet dancer at all and she can't dance in pointe shoes. And she can't move her body. She's very stiff."

Lane lamented how she was listed in the credits as an extra rather than a dancing double. She also said producers from the film asked her to stop giving interviews before the Oscars. After her comments made headlines, she wrote a blog for the Wall Street Journal clarifying her point that Portman's limited training did not equip her to portray a pro ballerina.

"I'm not trying to instigate conflict here," Lane wrote. "The truth is that no one, not Natalie Portman, or even myself can come anywhere close to the level of a professional ballerina in a year and a half. Period."

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'Black Swan' Stars, Director Defend Natalie Portman

Portman's "Black Swan" family quickly came to her defense.

"Natalie danced her a*s off," Mila Kunis, Portman's co-star, told Entertainment Weekly. "I think it's unfortunate that this is coming out and taking attention away from [the praise] Natalie deserved and got. It was more like a safety net. If Nat wasn't able to do something, you'd have a safety net. The same thing that I had -- I had a double as a safety net. We all did. No one ever denied it."

Director Darren Aronofsky said Portman's dancing got far more screen time than Lane's.

"Here is the reality," Aronofsky said in a statement put out by Fox Searchlight, the studio behind "Black Swan." "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 percent Natalie Portman."

Benjamin Millepied, "Black Swan's" choreographer-actor who is now Portman's fiance and the father of her baby, also dismissed Lane's claims in an interview with the Los Angeles Times.

"There are articles now talking about her dance double that are making it sound like [Lane] did a lot of the work, but really, she just did the footwork, and the fouettes, and one diagonal in the studio," he said. "Honestly, 85 percent of that movie is Natalie."

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