LaneGate: The Final Chapter

By March 28, 2011Nat-news

Director Darren Aronofksy has responded and hopefully we can put much of this silliness to rest now. Take away D-dawg!

“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% Natalie Portman. What about duration? The shots that feature the double are wide shots and rarely play for longer than one second. There are two complicated longer dance sequences that we used face replacement. Even so, if we were judging by time over 90% would be Natalie Portman.

And to be clear Natalie did dance on pointe in pointe shoes. If you look at the final shot of the opening prologue, which lasts 85 seconds, and was danced completely by Natalie, she exits the scene on pointe. That is completely her without any digital magic. I am responding to this to put this to rest and to defend my actor. 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.”


Author Dazza

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Join the discussion 35 Comments

  • biffyrules says:

    thank god he said something. that sarah needs to get a grip that natalie was better than her!

  • dazza says:

    Well, no, I’m pretty sure Natalie wasn’t better than her at dancing 😀

  • themodelactor says:

    Bottom line is, Natalie won an oscar! Which is so awesome for her and puts her in an elite group. So for her to have to listen to her double whining about not getting enough credit, when she should be relaxing and enjoying her phenomenal year, is just sad. There are doubles and stand ins in every film and I couldn’t tell you the names of any of them. Know why? The audience isn’t concerned with who is behind the camera. Thats the way is is and always will be. The actors are the celebritys, not the rest of the film crew. Everyone working on the film should know there work is appreciated, not whine about not having there name called out at the oscars. If Natalie could go back would she thank her double? I believe so, she’s an incredible woman. But what Sarah Lane should do now is drop it.

  • AMSSERME says:

    Thank you,Darren Aronofsky.I thought Natalie would have to step up and talk,but you spoke loud and clear.Sarah Lane’s 15 minutes of fame is over.Natalie did dance on pointe in pointe shoes,so spoonbat will have to take back his or her words and perhaps appologize to Natalie for even insinuate that she should return her Oscar.Sarah Lane went down to history as the lying crybaby she was.After this,I doubt she will ever be hired by any director again for any Ballet film in the future.
    Natalie-We your fans stand behind you 100%.

  • spoonbat says:

    Yeah!! Faux-controversy doused out!

    The centipede is still a fucking golddigger and mooch.

    Ta ta ta….

  • NPortmanFan says:

    YAH DARREN!!! I love you! I really want to see the shame and embarrassment on Sarah Lane’s face. Sweet, sweet satisfaction lol.

  • Jenski says:

    Aw, Darren Aronofksy is so fucking cool. He contacted his editor and had him count shots? (139 of them!) Damn, that is support. If I were Natalie I’d be touched.

    Suck it, Sarah Lane.

  • omgzrachel says:

    About time. I hope this is the last we hear about this silliness. Aronofsky is definitely awesome for backing this up with some facts.

  • DavidK says:

    I hope none of this bullshit is bothering her too much. Not a great time for it, really.

  • sweezysara says:

    Thanks to Darren for clearing up this thing.
    I hope Nat would not think of this too much, it’s really a waste of time.

  • jen.evar says:

    I love Darren. I’m glad he finally stepped up and put an end to it. If anyone knows the real story of the editing and how the effects went down it would be him. I don’t think he would lie.

  • nelson2 says:

    Sarah Lane said she did 95% of the FULL BODY shots. I don’t think there were 139 full body shots in the movie. He must be counting anything that had arm waving.

  • jesslv74 says:

    I’m glad he went through the trouble of checking the editing…that was so great of him. I also hope this has not affected Natalie’s chance to rest and relax that this all be put to rest. But I’m maybe not…

    I read via twitter that Sarah Lane has been asked to do an interview with CNN. A gal on Twitter who also has the name Sarah Lane (she’s a tech pod/video caster) tweeted this: “CNN wants to interview me about being Natalie Portman’s body double on Showbiz Tonight. Should I just show up? Would they even notice?”

    This is becoming ridiculous.

  • omgzrachel says:

    nelson2, Sarah Lane only recently clarified that Natalie did only 5% of the full-body dancing (which is the truth). However, in the original interviews she spoke as if she herself did most of the dancing in the movie (which is untrue). While it’s not necessarily Sarah’s fault the press took that and ran stories about Natalie being dishonest with claims that she did very little of any sort of dancing in the film, she should have spoken more carefully.

  • Jecca101 says:

    Why is there so much discrepancy here?? The director and Sarah Lane are BOTH right. There really shouldn’t be so much DRAMA.

    Natalie danced 111 of 139 scenes, and Sarah 28. Of the 111 scenes that natalie danced they were mostly head or upper body shots. Sarah’s beautiful dancing in the other 28 scenes were most of the footwork and full body shots. When Sarah says “on Screen Dacncing” she means footwork and full body shots, cause that is what BALLET is!

    So yes, SARAH did dance 90% percent of the footwork and full body shots, and natalie danced 85% of the TOTAL movie!!

    In Natalie’s defense not once did she imply she danced the whole movie and on a number of occasions SHE DID CREDIT her dance double. IT’S THE STUDIO AND THE DIRECTOR that seem to be causing all of the discrepancy.

    Yes, Natalie is in the opening dance sequence and it even shows her feet for 5 seconds, but I just re-watched the whole Beginning opening sequence and there is a whole minute of someone else dancing that they put natalie’s face on that HE FORGOT TO MENTION. Give Sarah her CREDIT and let the rest be. Even still, Natalie did a great job and earned her OSCAR for her ACTING not dancing.

  • omgzrachel says:

    I think the media is largely to blame for the discrepancy. It’s unfortunate that this apparently came from a misunderstanding (I’m assuming) that turned into sensationalist headlines. While Sarah probably meant in the very beginning that Natalie was not doing the professional dancing and complicated footwork, the press was spinning it as Natalie not doing any dancing, period. Frankly, I don’t think Sarah did herself any favors by accusing Natalie of lying and not making herself very clear. And the producers definitely didn’t do Natalie any favors by being shady as hell and crediting Sarah as an extra rather than a double. But in the end, both parties came out looking bad (Lane the bitter whiner and Portman the fraud).

  • quick_wit says:


    @spoonbat you sound like a bitter version of Clone

  • jen.evar says:

    Lane is featured fairly significantly in the special features of the Black Swan Blu-Ray. They have the effects walk through clips of the head replacements and also show her doing full dances on set. She is also shown during the mirror slam and the choking scene.
    If she’s whining about being omitted in any way she needs to pick up a copy of the Blu-Ray and watch the special features.

  • Atze says:

    There is no face replacement during the opening sequence, hence Aronofsky didn’t forget anything. The only time a double is used there is when we see the feet, the rest is upper body work.
    Sarah Lane has been given enough credit.

  • aalias says:

    well said! :))

  • dazza says:

    Atze, no no, there definitely is facial replacement at the beginning of the prologue. But the last 85 seconds of the prologue are all Natalie, which is damn impressive because I really didn’t think that the on pointe exit was here, particularly since it’s walking away from us so they wouldn’t have even had to use CGI.

  • Atze says:

    I watched the opening szene again. Are you telling me there is facial replacement when she’s just standing there right at the beginning? Because that’s the only full body shot of the entire opening sequence.

  • dazza says:

    I’m not sure about that first shot as the face is obscured by shadow, but those opening moves are Lane and when she sits down that is also Lane with Natalie’s face. Then there is a cut and the rest of the scene it’s Natalie.

  • Mockingbird says:

    Thank you Darren for speaking up for Natalie, providing facts and support and for just generally being awesome.

  • Away With The Pixies says:

    Dazza- did you learn it was Sarah who did the opening from the dvd because if that’s true i am dissapoint. It’s my favourite scene in the movie and i really thought it was all Natalie. Oh well.

  • Atze says:

    I’m still not sure. If that’s all Lane in the first minute why the effort of cutting to the feet? They could have just showed her dancing. Aah, I’m getting a headache. I really have to stop thinking about that crap before it ends up ruining the movie for me. Maybe the dvd/bluray-extras will shed some light on all that.

    Anyway, thanks for the explaination dazza.

  • jen.evar says:

    The Blu-Ray featurette shows what the effects team did with the opening prologue, but it is only the very beginning that is Sarah Lane. When Nina twirls to the ground before Rothbart shows up, aka all that fancy footwork, it is Lane and they digitally replaced her with Natalie’s whole upper body when she sits on the ground. What Darren is saying is from that point on it is all Natalie… and yes, that is pretty damn impressive. Especially the en pointe walk away at the end of the prologue scene.

  • dazza says:

    I guess Aronofsky wanted an unbroken cut from the time she starts dancing till she sits down. It would have been easy enough to cut it so that Lane does the dance and Natalie sits, but he must have just really wanted that nice long take. And then after the cut is a an even longer take that’s a minute and a half of Natalie dancing, mostly up close but then exiting on pointe as we get a good look at the muscles in her back.

    Pixies – most of the opening scene is Natalie but yes, those on pointe turns and moves when the camera is focused on the feet at the start is Sarah. It’s about 20 seconds of dancing and then she sits and then its Natalie till the end. I had actually thought the final on pointe exit must have been a double so I’m pleasantly surprised that she was able to do that.

  • jesslv74 says:

    The blu-ray should be arriving from Amazon any time today. I am excited, esp to see the extras, but this stupid controversy has definitely ruined the movie experience a bit for me. Ugh. 🙁

  • Edd says:

    totally agree

  • Ashmiester says:

    Darren, my hero.

  • Agie says:

    As Samuel L. Jackson would have said – Enough is enough!

    This stupid debate is making me angry. I just been on a site, where people were taking part in a poll, which concerns around this same question – “Do You think that Natalie deserved this award?”.
    This is so sick. I believe She danced 80 % of the dance scenes. Sarah someone is not going to change my mind about my favourite actress, which I support from many years. Real fans know what I’m saying.

    I believe in Natalie Hershlag!!!

  • maverick494 says:

    There’s a reason I don’t want to be a journalist and this just shows me again what the media can do to damage the reputation of people who don’t deserve that. That said, I think those enthusiastic about Black Swan and Natalie’s performance in it will not be so quickly swayed by gossip like this. Now the matter has been settled, I think it wont hurt her career. After all, she was WRONGLY accused and she did not lie, so this is not going to cast a shadow over her in the future.

    For Sarah Lane I’m sure it won’t pan out as well. Because of her accusations, she will be remembered by most as an ungrateful, bitter attention seeker. If this was the first time she doubled, I’m sure it’ll be the last. I’m disappointed that the professional she so proudly presents herself to be could act so irresponsibly. She should be ashamed and I hope she learned her lesson.

  • shewolf78 says:

    Jecca101, I totally agree with you on everything you said and you are 100% correct that there’s someone else playing a different dance double besides Sarah. I know this because she’s family and I have been waiting a very long time for this movie to come out so I could buy it because I knew what parts of the movie she played in. I don’t want to create anymore contreversy for Natalie Portman though, so I’m not going to name names. But I wanted to say I agree with your message.