Black Swan (2010)

 ●  English ● 1 hr 48 mins

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Dark and intricately woven, this artistic saga revolves around Nina (Portman), a ballerina in a New York City ballet company whose life, like all those in her profession, is completely consumed with dance. She lives with her retired ballerina mother Erica (Barbara Hershey) who zealously supports her daughter's professional ambition. When artistic director Thomas Leroy (Vincent Cassel) decides to replace prima ballerina Beth MacIntyre (Winona Ryder) for the opening production of their new season, Swan Lake, Nina is his first choice. However, Nina has competition: a new dancer, Lily (Kunis), who impresses Leroy as well. Swan Lake requires a dancer who can play both the White Swan with innocence and grace, and the Black Swan, who represents guile and sensuality. Nina fits the White Swan role perfectly but Lily is the personification of the Black Swan. As the two young dancers expand their rivalry into a twisted friendship, Nina begins to get more in touch with her dark side, and with it comes a recklessness that threatens to destroy her.
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Did you know? Natalie Portman's body and dance double, Sarah Lane, made a public statement shortly before the DVD/Blu-Ray release in March 2011, claiming that the film's producers asked her not to conduct interviews until after the awards season so Natalie Portman would receive most of the dancing credibility. A promotional video released about the special effects used in the film was also altered so it didn't include aspects of how Lane's face was digitally replaced with Portman's during complicated dance moves Lane was brought in to perform. Choreographer (and Portman's fiancé) Benjamin Millepied counteracted Lane's comments: "It was so believable, it was fantastic, that beautiful movement quality. There are articles now talking about her dance double [Sarah Lane] that are making it sound like she did a lot of the work, but really she just did the footwork, the fouettés, and one diagonal phrase in the studio. Honestly, 85% of that movie is Natalie". Director Darren Aronofsky also debunked Lane's claims: "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." Read More
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as Lily / The Black Swan
as Nina Sayers / The Swan Queen
as Thomas Leroy / The Gentleman
as Erica Sayers / The Queen
as Sexy Waiter Scott
as Madeline / Little Swan
as Galina / Little Swan
as Veronica / Little Swan
as Costumer Georgina
as Mr. Fithian / Patron
as Rich Gent
as Andrew / Suitor
as Uncle Hank
as Violin Player
as Mrs. Fithian / Patron
as Tom / Suitor
as Beth Macintyre / The Dying Swan

Direction

Director
First Assistant Director
Second Assistant Director

Writers

Screenplay Writer

Camera and Electrical

Director of Photography

Music

Music Director
Music Label

Sound

Sound Designer
Sound Re-recording Mixer
Foley Artist
Sound Effects Editor

Art

Art Director

Casting

Casting Director

Costume and Wardrobe

Costume Designer

Editorial

Stunts

Stunt Coordinator
Stunt Coordinator Assistant

Visual Effects

Visual Effects Producer
Visual Effects Supervisor
Digital Compositor
Film Type:
Feature Film
Language:
English
Spoken Languages:
French, Italian
Colour Info:
Color
Sound Mix:
Dolby Digital, DTS, Sony Dynamic Digital Sound
Camera:
ARRIFLEX 16SR, ARRIFLEX 416, Canon EOS-5D Mark II, Canon EOS-7D
Frame Rate:
24 fps
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1
Stereoscopy:
No
Goofs:
Continuity
When Nina returns home after being assigned a role, she stands at her front door to go in. She is wearing her white scarf around her neck. She then puts her key in the lock and her other hand on the door knob. As she walks through the door to the other side, her hands are still on the door but her scarf is now over her arm.

Crew/Equipment Visible
When Nina returns home and looks for her mother, after being assigned a role, a camera operator is visible in a mirror.
Trivia:
Natalie Portman hit her head during the filming of one scenes in this movie, sustaining a bad concussion that required an MRI.

In the practice scene near the beginning of the film (when Thomas taps some of the girls on the shoulder), all of the characters except Nina are wearing either all black, or some combination of black, gray, and/or white. Nina is the only character wearing all white.

Darren Aronofsky had originally hoped for a budget of about $28-30 million. The budget eventually raised for the film was about $13 million.

The letters that were written on the mirror, when Nina calls her mother to tell her that she has been accepted for the role, were written by Natalie Portman herself.

The method which Nina uses to "break in" her toe-shoes are all common - ripping the sole apart, re-stitching the ribbons, lighting the end ribbons to prevent fraying, spraying the toe-box, and using glass and rosin to grate the bottom to gain traction.

Nina's (Natalie Portman) harmful, compulsive skin picking is an actual impulse control disorder known to the medical profession as Dermatillomania, and may also be referred to as DMT or derm, Neurotic Excoriation, or CSP (Compulsive Skin Picking or Chronic Skin Picking).

Natalie Portman began ballet training before receiving an official script on pure faith that the this movie would be made, and that she would be offered the role.

Lily is always wearing black outfits, as well as black underwear to signify her as Nina's opposite, or "Black Swan."

Director Darren Aronofsky originally envisioned telling this story as part of the plot of The Wrestler (2008) and was actually developing a project that was about a love affair between a ballet dancer and a wrestler, but he realized pretty quickly that taking two worlds like wrestling and ballet was much too much for one movie.

After practicing with a ballet instructor for three months, five hours a day, seven days a week, Mila Kunis learned how to dance en pointe. She had casually practiced ballet as a child.

The script took around ten years to make it to the screen.

Out of all the award nominations the film received the only category sweep was Natalie Portman winning every Best Actress category, including Golden Globe and Academy Award, in which she was nominated.

Both Mila Kunis and Natalie Portman have praised choreographer Benjamin Millepied for altering the choreography enough to allow them to do most of their own dancing and to help them appear like professionals.

Natalie Portman lost 20 pounds to look more like a ballerina.

Natalie Portman met her future husband, choreographer Benjamin Millepied, on the set of this film.

In an interview with Charlie Rose, Natalie Portman stated that one of the most difficult challenges of making the film - aside from training and dancing - was modifying her voice. She stated that before working with Darren Aronofsky, directors had constantly criticized what they perceived to be the childish quality of her voice, and encouraged her to work with vocal coaches to make it sound deeper and more adult. The role of Nina required Portman to regress backwards and make her voice more child-like. She felt that doing so took her back to a point she worked hard to leave behind.

Mila Kunis was brought into the project after co-star Natalie Portman suggested her to director Darren Aronofsky. Kunis had a video chat with Aronofsky via Skype and got the role without officially auditioning.

Darren Aronofsky told journalist Kim Masters in a radio interview (KCRW's "The Business" broadcast February 14, 2011) that Natalie Portman not only trained for a year as a dancer to prepare for the role, but paid for the the training out of her own pocket until the film found investors. Aronofsky attributed the film's getting made at all to Portman's dedication and enthusiasm.

Natalie Portman's body and dance double, Sarah Lane, made a public statement shortly before the DVD/Blu-Ray release in March 2011, claiming that the film's producers asked her not to conduct interviews until after the awards season so Natalie Portman would receive most of the dancing credibility. A promotional video released about the special effects used in the film was also altered so it didn't include aspects of how Lane's face was digitally replaced with Portman's during complicated dance moves Lane was brought in to perform. Choreographer (and Portman's fiancé) Benjamin Millepied counteracted Lane's comments: "It was so believable, it was fantastic, that beautiful movement quality. There are articles now talking about her dance double [Sarah Lane] that are making it sound like she did a lot of the work, but really she just did the footwork, the fouettés, and one diagonal phrase in the studio. Honestly, 85% of that movie is Natalie". Director Darren Aronofsky also debunked Lane's claims: "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."

The soundtrack, composed by Clint Mansell is a variation on Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's "Swan Lake" ballet, but played backwards and in a distorted manner.

The budget on this film was so tight that when Natalie Portman had a rib dislocated during a lift and called the producer for help, she was told that the production could not afford a medic. Portman stated that if they needed to cut items from the budget they could take away her trailer to hire a medic. The next day her trailer was gone. Portman also had to receive physical therapy during filming and one of her sessions was incorporated into the final cut. Choreographer Benjamin Millepied brought in Michelle Rodriguez Nouel, an actual physical therapist, and director Darren Aronofsky told Portman to stay in character during the appointment. Subsequent dance sequences were filmed by having Portman lifted from her arm pits rather than her sides to avoid repeating the injury. It took Portman six weeks to fully recover.

Natalie Portman revealed that director Darren Aronofsky would subtly try to pit her and Mila Kunis against each other during filming in an attempt to increase the on-screen tension between their characters. This included keeping the two actresses separated during filming and sending each of them intimidating text messages about each other's performance that day.