I just read about the controversies of how the filmmakers of Black Swan had made misleading claims and created a facade that Natalie Portman danced most of the choreography in the film herself. They want people to believe that Natalie had done something incredibly extraordinary by transforming into a professional dancer after 1.5 years of intense training and hence the movie Black Swan should receive a commendable response. I guess there’s nothing wrong with that marketing strategy but is it really necessary to discredit the real dancer, Sarah Lane, of her hard work and asking her to remain mum about it? That’s the issue here.
I am a big fan of the movie. I though it was brilliant. The story was great, the direction was good and the acting was superb. Natalie Portman is a helluva actress. Most of the time I was gaping at her acting. How on earth can anyone be so believable? Honestly, I wouldn’t care whether she did most of the dances or not. It does not question her acting skill and she still deserves the Oscar for Best Actress. But like I said, the issue is not about who deserves the Oscar.
This controversy is a matter of ethics. I seriously think there should be a law against mis-crediting body double when he/she did at least 40 percent of the scenes. We all know films are just made-believes (including the ones that can really convince you otherwise). Actors are humans and they do not possess supernatural powers. In this case, to become a professional dancer in 1.5 years is humanly impossible. (Although I did wonder if Natalie is a human, I mean she’s a Harvard-Hollywood juggler!) You won’t expect an actor to train for life just to make one movie, thus a body double is perfectly fine. As a marketing student, I also understand the need to play down body double’s involvements and amplify the actress’ hard work to boost the film’s image. However, making misleading claim that the actress did 80 percent of the moves when in actual it could be as low as only 5 percent is not ethical.
What I see as the core issue here is that ‘Black Swan’ is a movie about ballet dance. It should aim to promote and make the audience appreciate ballet dance while creating a story around it. Unfortunately, the filmmakers of Black Swan have disregarded the real ballet dancer and it makes the movie becomes just a money-reeling tool. Yes, it has good story and is supported by good acting but it’s like a plastic mannequin that looks good on the outside but without a heart. It will still bring in a lot of cash and recognition but what good is a man without a heart?
I kinda reckon that the ‘Black Swan’ controversy will soon blow over and people will forget about the importance of body/stunt double. Human beings are more incline to appreciate only the things they can see. Nonetheless I hope this issue will raise people’s awareness of what is or isn’t ethical in the film industry. Film is such a powerful industry and people just believe, or dismiss, whatever the filmmakers say. It’s good to once in a while watch a movie and think about what really went behind the scene instead of just taking whatever you’re being fed with.
Okay, some of you think I’m talking gibberish. lol that’s just the thought I have about this controversy. I hope it will end well for both parties involved. If you haven’t watch the movie, you should ignore all the commotion and watch it. I still hold a positive view of it, solely based on the film.