Want to know how long it took director, Darren Aronofsky to get the
script to screen? Keep on reading Black
Trivia to find out the answer.
by: Darren Aronofsky
Mark Heyman (screenplay)
Andres Heinz (screenplay)
John McLaughlin (screenplay)
Andres Heinz (story) Starring: Natalie Portman -
Mila Kunis - Lily
Vincent Cassel - Thomas Leroy
Barbara Hershey - Erica Sayers
Winona Ryder - Beth Macintyre
Benjamin Millepied - David
Ksenia Solo - Veronica
Kristina Anapau - Galina
Janet Montgomery - Madeline
Sebastian Stan - Andrew
Toby Hemingway - Tom
Sergio Torrado - Sergio
Mark Margolis - Mr. Fithian
Tina Sloan - Mrs. Fithian
Abraham Aronofsky - Mr. Stein
Charlotte Aronofsky - Mrs. Stein
Marcia Jean Kurtz - Georgina
Shaun O'Hagan - Sebastian
Christopher Gartin - Waiter Scott
Deborah Offner - Susie
Stanley Herman - Uncle Hank
It was rumored that both Rachel Weisz and Jennifer Connelly were
considered for the lead roles when the film was first conceived.
Director, Darren Aronofsky, first discussed with
Natalie Portman the
possibility of a ballet film in 2000, though the script was yet to be
written. He told her about the love scene between competing ballet
dancers, and Portman recalled, "I thought that was very interesting
because this movie is in so many ways an exploration of an artist's ego
and that narcissistic sort of attraction to yourself and also repulsion
On the decade's wait before production, Portman stated; "The fact that
I had spent so much time with the idea, allowed it to marinate a little
before we shot."
In order to look more like a ballerina Natalie Portman lost 20 pounds.
In order to attain a body type and muscular tone
more similar to those
of professional dancers, Natalie Portman began her ballet training a
year before principal production began. She trained with Mary Hahn
Bowers (formerly of the New York City Ballet) and the regimen included
fifteen minutes of toe exercises so that she could be on point for the
dance scenes, substantial muscle toning, and swimming a mile a day. A
few months closer to filming, she began choreography training.
It's been reported that Natalie Portman sustained a twisted rib during
the filming of a dance sequence and it took six weeks for it to fully
recover. For filming of subsequent dance sequences she was lifted from
her arm pits rather than her sides to avoid repeating the injury.
Natalie Portman had to receive physical therapy during filming due to
her twisted rib injury. According to the director Darren Aronofsky,
Portman is actually undergoing a real physical therapy session in one
scene with the actual physical therapist.
Another injury that Natalie Portman encountered during filming was a
head injury sustaining a bad concussion that required an MRI.
Natalie Portman does most of her own dancing in the movie but
professional ballerina Sarah Lane doubles her in some shots involving
complex en pointe moves.
The female characters are directed in the Swan Lake production by
Thomas Leroy, played by Vincent Cassel. He compared his character to
George Balanchine, who co-founded New York City Ballet. According to
Cassel, Balanchine was "a control freak, a true artist using sexuality
to direct his dancers".
Blake Lively auditioned for the role of Lily.
According to an radio interview on "Fresh Air with Terry Gross,"
Natalie Portman recommended her friend Mila Kunis for the role of Lily
after learning that Kunis had previously had some experience as a
It's been reported that Darren Aronofsky offered Mila Kunis the role of
Lily over Skype, without an audition.
Mila Kunis had casually practiced ballet as a child but in order to
learn how to dance en pointe she practiced with a ballet instructor for
six months, five hours a day, seven days a week.
Kunis was put on a very strict diet of 1,200 calories a day. She lost
20 pounds from her normal weight of about 117 pounds.
Kunis engaged in cardio and Pilates. Kunis stated; "I did ballet as a
kid like every other kid does ballet. You wear a tutu and you stand on
stage and you look cute and twirl. But this is very different because
you can't fake it. You can't just stay in there and like pretend you
know what you're doing. Your whole body has to be structured
Kunis's comment on the contrast of her character Lily with Natalie
Portman's character, Nina; "My character is very loose. She's not as
technically good as Natalie's character, but she has more passion,
naturally. That's what Nina lacks."
It's been revealed by Natalie Portman that director Darren Aronofsky
would subtly try to pit her and Mila Kunis against each other during
filming so as to increase the on-screen tension between their
Apparently Meryl Streep was considered to play Nina's mother, Erica
Winona Ryder who plays the former leading ballerina, Beth Macintyre,
only went to one ballet lesson as a child. Apparently she never
returned as she thought her teacher was mean.
Winona Ryder only spent 10 days filming her role.
Actor, Mark Margolis appeared in an 'under-five' role as a favor to
Darren Aronofsky, but his dialogue was cut from the film.
Benjamin Millepied, a principal dancer from New York City Ballet,
debuted in Black Swan
as both actor and choreographer. In addition to
the soloist performances, members of the Pennsylvania Ballet were cast
as the corps de ballet, backdrop for the main actors' performances.
Apparently director, Darren Aronofsky first became interested in ballet
when his sister studied dance at the High School of Performing Arts in
New York City.
The basic idea for the film began when Aronofsky hired screenwriters to
rework a screenplay called 'The Understudy', which was about
off-Broadway actors and explored the notion of being haunted by a
double. Aronofsky said the screenplay had elements of the film All
About Eve, Roman Polanski's film The Tenant, and Fyodor Dostoyevsky's
novella 'The Double'.
Aronofsky had also seen numerous productions of Swan Lake, and he
connected the duality of the White Swan and the Black Swan
Researching for production of Black
Aronofskye has stated the he
found ballet to be "a very insular world" whose dancers were "not
impressed by movies". However, he found active and inactive dancers to
share their experiences with him and he also stood backstage to see the
Bolshoi Ballet perform at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.
Nina's name in the original screenplay was apparently Alexandria.
It took about 10 years for the script to finally make it to the screen.
When Aronofsky proposed a detailed outline of Black Swan
Pictures, the studio decided to fast-track development of the project
in January 2007. However, the project did not come together at the
studio, and Aronofsky would go on to shoot The Wrestler instead.
After finishing The Wrestler in 2008, Aronofsky asked Mark Heyman, who
had worked for him on the film, to write Black Swan.
production considered setting the film in France and filming in
Budapest but the idea was abandoned due to creative and budgetary
Universal had placed the project in turnaround in June 2009, generating
attention from other studios and specialty divisions, particularly with
actress Portman attached to star.
In June 2009 Black Swan
began development under Protozoa Pictures and
Overnight Productions, the latter financing the film and in July 2009,
Kunis was cast.
Fox Searchlight Pictures became the distributor for Black Swan.
film was given a production budget of $10–12 million, and principal
photography began in New York City toward the end of 2009.
Aronofsky shot Black Swan
with a muted palette and a grainy style very
similar to The Wrestler. Part of filming took place at the Performing
Arts Center at State University of New York at Purchase.
Georgina Parkinson, a ballet mistress from the American Ballet Theater,
coached the actors in ballet.
For certain scenes, American Ballet Theater soloists Sarah Lane and
Maria Riccetto were "dance doubles" for Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis
Aronofsky said during filming about Portman's ballet performance, "She
was able to pull it off. Except for the wide shots when she has to be
en pointe for a real long time, it's Natalie on screen. I haven't used
her double a lot."
Apparently the method that Natalie Portman's character, Nina, uses to
'break in' her ballet shoes are very common, which is to rip the sole
apart, restitch the ribbons, lighting the end ribbons, spraying the
toe-box and using glass to grate the bottom of the shoes to gain
The last name of the character of the ballet director, Thomas Leroy, is
French for 'the king', which is significant due to Nina's
identification with her role as an enchanted princess in love with a
The budget on
this movie was so tight that when star Natalie Portman had a twisted
rib injury during a lift a she was told that they no medic. Natalie
called the producers for help and stated that if they needed to cut
items from the budget they could take away her trailer,
of the medic. Apparently the next day her trailer was gone.
The soundtrack, composed by Clint Mansell, is a variation on
Tchaikovsky's "Swan Lake" ballet, but played backwards and in a
This movie marks the fifth consecutive collaboration between English
composer Clint Mansell and Aronofsky.
Because of the use of Tchaikovsky's music, the score was deemed
ineligible to be entered into the 2010 Academy Awards for Best Original
Score. The film also featured various new pieces of music by English
production duo The Chemical Brothers, although they are not featured on
the official soundtrack.
Take a look at below featurette where director, Darren
Aronofsky, takes us on a behind the scenes tour of the making of Black
Below footage an in-depth look at Natalie Portman and her character,