More Double Talk

Salon have a new article that defends Natalie from the Black Swan and Your Highness body double scandals. They place the blame at the feet of the producers but, really, they get quite a lot wrong (once again).

But although these stories revolve around the use (or lack thereof) of Portman’s body, in both cases it is the studio that produced the film that is actually culpable for any misdirection (1). In the case of “Black Swan,” Fox Searchlight overplayed the star’s ballet expertise and lack of a body double, while Portman herself only spoke about the difficult training (2). For “Your Highness,” it was Universal that took advantage of a young, non-union performer in order to shoot a difficult scene that an experienced body double would never have done for such a small fee (3). Neither actress has spoken out against Portman herself (4).

It’s a depressing narrative that puts Portman’s body in the center of two scandals that have less to do with her and more to do with the cynicism and hype of Hollywood producers. Natalie Portman, Sarah Lane and Caroline Davis are equal victims of cinema’s obsession with creating the perfect female form. (5)

(1) That “misdrection” is called film making.

(2) Wrong.

(3) Is the union upset? Maybe they have a grievance but the girl who did the lake dive was happy to do so and possibly would have done it for free. Where is the story here? At least with Sarah Lane you had someone visibly rocking the boat.

(4) Actress? I think they mean “stunt double”.

(5) The perfect female form? What on earth are they on about? The Your Highness dive was not about body parts, as we already see Natalie in that skimpy outfit. She simply didn’t want to do the stunt of diving into a freezing lake. The Sarah Lane thing was also not about the female form. It was to be able to include highly skilled moments to help sell the ballet world of the film.