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Michael Seitzman

Michael Seitzman

Who Was the Real Recipient of Kunis-lingus?

Posted: 03/28/11 08:04 AM ET

If you haven't been paying attention (and congratulations if you haven't), Natalie Portman's body double in Black Swan has called up some journalists to complain that she's the one who did all that dancing. Wait a minute, Natalie Portman didn't do all of her own dancing?! Obviously, there's an Oscar to be returned.

Maybe we should tell this dancer (whose name I can't bring myself to Google) that those aren't actually spaceships in Star Wars either. That's because movie making is make-believe. That's right, Green Swan, you and a bunch of other people got together to create an illusion for the audience. And here's a little secret... the audience knows it's an illusion. They have paid to experience the illusion, their daughters lined up to experience it several times, and their sons have illegally downloaded at least one scene from that illusion to experience in the privacy of their bathroom.

Though I have nothing to do with Black Swan I'm going to take it upon myself to explain your part in the filmmaking process. You were not cast, you were hired. There is a difference. When you're cast it means you're going to become someone else for the life of the movie, a character that the audience accepts as a real person for the two hours spent immersed in the illusion. When you're hired as a body double and dancer your job is important, but significantly different. Rather than create the illusion that you are someone else, your job is to create the illusion that someone else is someone else. You're there to support and enhance the actor in creating her illusion. Just like a stuntman. Believe it or not, Paul Newman and Robert Redford didn't really jump off that cliff in Butch and Sundance. I didn't hear their stuntmen call up Entertainment Weekly and whine that they didn't get enough attention. To paraphrase Hyman Roth to Michael Corleone, "This is the business you've chosen."

P.S. - Here's a quote by Natalie Portman during the press tour: "I do have a double for the complicated turning stuff. It was not anything I ever could have done in a year, nothing I could've caught up with. But I think it was just better for all of us if I did as much as possible."

 
 
 

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