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Dancer Feels 'Degraded' Over 'Black Swan' Controversy

April 18th, 2011 8:46am EDT

Black SwanBallet star Sarah Lane's allegations that she, not Natalie Portman, was the star of hit film "Black Swan" appear to ring true if new face replacement footage on the DVD is to be believed.
 
The American Ballet Theater star was hired to perform the most complex Swan Lake dance scenes in the film, but whereas Portman has claimed she performed 75 percent of what is seen in the movie, Lane insists all the dancing in the film was her, and the actress only featured in five per cent of the ballet sequences..
 
The dancer caused controversy when she first came forward with her claims and she's not backing down - in a new 20/20 news special, which aired on American TV on Friday, Lane sat down with the DVD of the film and picked the intricate ballet scenes apart, stating, "This is all me, you can actually see my face sometimes... The full body shots with actual dancing is me."
 
And the DVD release appears to back up her claims - it features bonus footage of how Portman's face was superimposed onto hers.
 
Lane accepted she wouldn't be credited for her major role in the film, but felt she had to speak out when moviegoers started to believe Portman was the sole star of the movie's ballet scenes.
 
She added, "I didn't do the movie to get fame or recognition, or anything... (but) I've been dancing for 22 years and to say that someone trained for a year and a half and did what I did... it's degrading, not only to me, but to the entire ballet world."
 
Lane told 20/20 she was approached by one of "Black Swan's" film producers after she first came forward to dismiss Portman's dancing claims; he asked her not to speak to the press until after the Oscars, where the actress won gold.
 
She recalled, "(He said) it was bad for Natalie's image.
 
"But they were trying to create this facade that Natalie had done something extraordinary, something that's pretty much impossible - to become a professional ballerina in a year and a half."
 
Lane was not surprised when Portman didn't mention her in her acceptance speech: "I expected it. At that point I knew what was going on."
 
The dancer insists she still thinks Portman deserved the Best Actress prize at the Oscars: "I think she is a really beautiful actress and I loved working with her."
 
For the record, director Darren Aronofsky appears to side with his leading lady and not the ballet star, insisting Portman performed 80 percent of the dance scenes in his film, and his editor, Andy Weisblum, tells 20/20, "There are about 35 shots that are full body shots in the movie...Of those 35 shots, 12 are Natalie and the rest are Sarah, but, of the overall film, Natalie did a lot more than that; she did most of the other shots. It was sometimes hard for me to tell the difference...It was so close."

Black Swan

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