Black Swan director Darren Aronofsky has waded in to defend Natalie Portman amid allegations she relied on a dance double to perform most of her complex ballet moves in the Oscar-winning film.
The star, who won a Best Actress Academy Award for her role as a troubled dancer, has faced growing criticism following claims a stand-in was used to complete most of the film's spectacular sequences.
The body double - American Ballet Theatre star Sarah Lane - boosted the speculation by insisting only "five per cent" of the ballet scenes were acted out by Portman. Portman's fiance - and the film's choreographer - Benjamin Millepied, as well as studio bosses at Fox Searchlight have come to the actress' defense.
Now, Aronofsky has spoken out to silence Portman's critics, saying, "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 per cent Natalie Portman."
The moviemaker goes on to admit digital techniques were used twice during editing, to superimpose Portman's face over Lane's, revealing: "There are two complicated longer dance sequences that we used face replacement (on)."
He adds, "Natalie sweated long and hard to deliver a great physical and emotional performance. And I don't want anyone to think that's not her they are watching. It is."
Portman's co-star Mila Kunis has also slammed the claims: "Natalie danced her a** off. I think it's unfortunate that this is coming out and taking attention away from (the praise) Natalie deserved and got."