LaneGate: Dead Horse Edition

By March 31, 2011Nat-news

The Wall Street Journal, who have not covered themselves in glory in covering the facts in this story, offered Natalie and Lane the opportunity to write about their experiences making Black Swan…even though Natalie basically did that for a couple months in promotion for the film. To nobodies surprise, Natalie declined and Sarah jumped at the chance.

You can read the piece here, which is not as strongly worded as some of her recent statements, but still quite upset that Black Swan wasn’t a documentary about ballet.

I’m not done yet, hit the jump.

Personally, I’m more annoyed with the media coverage of this news than I am with Lane. Lane is just one bitter ballet dancer and if she wants to throw her toys out of the pram, well that’s her choice. But one would like to think the media would at least put some effort into seeking out facts and taking an objective point of view. The Daily Beast put forward a piece that was made to look like it was taking everyone’s opinions into consideration, but they left out key passages of Aronofsky’s statement, which is surely the most important statement about this entire news item. Not only that but they repeated that Natalie didn’t mention Lane while promoting the film, without even throwing in a “Lane alleges”.

So I signed up for the comments section and left a message explaining, in very moderate language, that the allegation is patently false and Natalie did mention Lane. I also commented that the media really should do their homework a bit more. Needless to say, that comment was not approved. I also tweeted the writer of the article about it. Again, not a peep. They simply do not care about those annoying little things called facts, and that is far more annoying and worrying than what Lane has done.

But back to Lane, Natnat made a really good post over on the forums, and I think it’s well worth sharing here on the main site.

I think Mary Helen Bowers said it well when she said; “If you’re going to play a ballerina, you’re going to have to train like one”. And that’s what Natalie did. She trained, she tried to absorb herself in that world so that she could be as believable as possible.

Where this sloppy reporting has come from that she has claimed she’s a professional ballet dancer is beyond me. Natalie did interviews with some of these people and they can’t even be bothered to look in their own archive.

Sarah Lane is very transparent to me. This is not just about credit and standing up for dancers. If it was then she would mention Maria Riccetto and Kimberly Prosa. In fact she hasn’t mentioned their contributions at all. Fair is fair right? As fanatical said, these two have had even less credit than her. Why not use this opportunity to shine a light on them as well. It’s been all about her so far.

This girl acts like ballet dancers are the hardest working professionals out there. There are a hell of alot more professions out there that are equally hard working that don’t even get a mention and without their work our way of life would not exist.

This girl is consumed by ballet. She can’t see anything else. Being passionate about something is one thing but she is almost cult-like in her devotion.

If Natalie wrote what this girl wrote but from an acting perspective, the comments would be that Natalie is soo pretentious. Yet this girl has so much support.

There are a group of ballet afiliates on twitter that have created a fake account and have been disparaging Natalie and have disgustingly brought Natalie’s baby into this whole matter. They are hypocrites. They indulge in the very same nasty behaviour they’re accusing Natalie of; MISREPRESENTATION!!

Listening to Natalie speak about ballet actually gave me more appreciation for ballet than Sarah Lane’s odious odes to ballet.


Author Dazza

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Join the discussion 12 Comments

  • v4v says:

    When the WSJ article first broke, I tried posting links of the interviews where Natalie clearly credits Lane on WSJ’s forum/comment section (twice!). Annoyingly enough…it was never approved either.

    This entire debacle is getting really exhausting and infuriating. Overall, it seems the general consensus amongst on Twitter is more or less ‘Who cares. It’s only a FICTIONAL movie. Natalie won for her acting’. Even amongst folks in dance community (professional dancers who work in the entertainment/music/film industry, not ballet) have found the whole fuss rather pointless and amusing with plenty of ‘NO, I DID THE DANCING!’ tweets. Many of them loved the film for Natalie’s ‘beast’ of a performance and the engrossing story. All of them knew for a fact that Natalie would have not been able to all the difficult dance sequences. Hell, most of them wouldn’t be able to either unless they’ve got extensive ballet training and technical skill at an extremely high professional level that would’ve require a lifetime of dedication.

    More to the point. Sarah seems very proud of her artform (ballet) and her status in the ballet industry, and she has every right to be. ABT soloist is not an easy title to achieve by any means. However, what bugs me about her (and Dance Magazine’s) argument(s) on Black Swan’s depiction of ballet/dancers is that she doesn’t seem to want to accept the fact that Black Swan is a FICTIONAL psychological thriller, which focuses on the mental/physical evolution/demise of a perfectionist who just happens to be a ballet dancer. Ballet provides only part of the context. The movie is by no means or were ever meant to be an ‘accurate depiction’ of Ballet or ballet dancers. The irony with all that is, now with all these accusations and statements being thrown around on the media people are actually more inclined to believe the movie’s depiction of ballet dancers.

    I honestly don’t get why Ben is getting a lot of the heat for this. First of all, it was the Dance Magazine article that dragged both Sarah (willingly) and Natalie into this. Ben’s response was simply a defense of Natalie’s involvement in filming of the dance scenes, and yes, judging from actual screen-time over 85% of the dance scene’s are Nat. Sarah and Kimberly doubled in for the more difficult en pointe sequences, where Natalie was filmed doing the same sequences but in flats (safer to execute than in pointe shoes, but not an easy task by any means, just go and ask a modern/contemporary dancer).

    As for the hypocrites who do nothing all day but nitpick, bitch and hate. Pfft…they have no lives.

    Sorry for the long rant. Just my two cent.

  • ontheroad says:

    My question would be : Is/was Sarah in love with Benjamin Millepied for making such cruel comments? That affair has the sour taste of jealousy… LOL

  • Acher says:

    This is all the stupid medias fault – they just want controversy. They don’t even read their own writing! Articles that clearly quote “full body shots” from sarah lane…they go on to paraphrase it to all the dancing. I don’t think either party has said anything wrong…it’s all these dumbasses in the media….

  • jen.evar says:

    Natnat makes a valid point and I agree with most of what they said. No matter what Natalie would come out and say at this point would be received well by anyone who has vaguely been following this situation and/or hasn’t seen the movie. It would come across as, ‘look at Natalie Portman acting like she’s the queen of Hollywood just because she won an Oscar for the movie.’ As unfortunate as that is it’s true.
    With that said, I think Natalie should just continue to stay out of it as she has so far. Let Aronofsky and Fox Searchlight deal with Lane. Notice how she hasn’t made another statement since Aronofsky made his. I think it’s more the media making the big deal about it right now because they keep writing about it and bringing it up. Lane will eventually return to her ABT work and disappear again.

  • NPortmanFan says:

    I posted a comment to the Daily Beast as well, giving them links to Natalie interviews, as well as some interviews with Benjamin and Kimberly Prosa. My comment was also not published. I wonder what the deal is??

  • omgzrachel says:

    ontheroad, this is more than likely just petty gossip, but it was said that Sarah Lane and Benjamin’s supposedly jilted ex-girlfriend are friends.

  • feartoxin says:

    perhaps she is becoming nina sayers with her obsession.

  • awiseone says:

    omgzrachel I would not be a bit surprised it that was indeed true.

  • nextyearsgirl says:

    I think the point that Lane isn’t making any effort to mention Natalie’s other doubles is the most telling one.

    I’d also like to point out that for Lane and all the other dancers who are upset that a real ballerina wasn’t cast as Nina, there is a ballet movie that stars real ballerinas. It’s called Center Stage, and it sucks. That’s because when you work your whole life to perfect one artform, the likelihood that you will be naturally gifted at another is very low. This is a movie, and Darren hired an actress for his lead. Faulting him for using doubles is like saying you’re disappointed the Iron Man costume is CGI when they should have built a real robotic costume that transforms into a suitcase.

  • kafinsmif says:


    So excited to watch all of the scenes of NATALIE dancing! 😉

  • nextyearsgirl says:

    also, an interesting article that says a lot of what you and the commenters have been saying about this “scandal”:

  • jesslv74 says:

    @nextyearsgirl – Your point is SO true and I like the reference you make to Center Stage. I had to laugh because I embarrassingly quite like that movie. But do you know how I usually watch it? I go straight to all of the dance sequences. I have only seen three of the lead actresses go on to act in other stuff, two were pretty much…well they weren’t very good. The only one to come out of it famous is Zoe Saldana and I believe all three started out as ballerinas or dancers. The main lead male dancer was a big-time professional ballet dancer….his dancing was wonderful but his acting was HORRIBLE. And that movie was ABOUT ballet. It depicted a lot of the same difficulties that ballet dancers go though in a sense, but because it wasn’t a successful movie, no one really cared that it wasn’t totally accurate and that the dancers, while trained dancers, weren’t the best represatations of “real” ballerinas.