Bonus points to anyone recognizing my title joke.
Right, so we all know that Natalie had a ballet double for Black Swan and that any time the camera is focused on just feet or leg work, it’s not Natalie. Along with that, Natalie’s face was digitally inserted in one or two full body shots where the double, Sarah Lane, was doing really complicated feet work that would be impossible for a non ballerina.
We all know this because it has been mentioned plenty of times. But Sarah feels that it hasn’t been mentioned enough and she’s not getting the credit she deserves for her work on the film, although the author of this Magazine Dance article seems even more upset than Sarah.
She feels slighted that Natalie didn’t mention her at the Oscars – I guess that’s one down side to naming more people than other winners, those who then aren’t mentioned feel shafted. But she did thank more below the line crew than any recent winners that I can recall.
The author of the article also feels that Sarah deserved a more prominent placement in the credits, but she is credited for her acting work in the cast credits, despite only appearing in a tiny scene as herself. A few lines down from the cast she is mentioned again under stunts, which is exactly what her job entailed and is positioned exactly where stunts are always positioned in credits.
I have a bit more sympathy for the final two issues. Sarah says that the producers asked her to not give interviews until after the Oscars and a vfx featurette initially included a quick shot of the digital face swap, but a later release of the featurette had that shot removed.
That is a bitter pill to swallow, but this is the business. The work of stunt people is supposed to be as invisible as possible, but not coming from that world I guess Sarah was not used to that “team player” way of thinking.
Making it even more of a prerogative for the Black Swan producers was the fact that this was a film with Oscar ambitions, and Oscar campaigns can get really dirty. Sadly, the work is only half the story, the other half is creating a perception and a narrative that will help your film get votes.
So this past awards season there is the whole Melissa Leo backlash, there was the Mark Zuckerberg had a girlfriend angle, there was the Royal family wanted to appease Hitler articles…I don’t blame the producers for being worried that a rival studio would try to start their own “Natalie did none of the dancing” narrative.
In any case, now that the Oscars are over, I’m sure Sarah’s involvement will become more widely known and recognized, particularly with the DVD release. Surely that is what is most important, along with the fact that the ballet world has received a great amount of attention because of the film