If you wanted a peek into what ballerinas put themselves through then this movie is definitely a worse case scenario despite being fictional. Natalie Portman portrays a young woman looking to take the lead in the legendary Swan Lake, a role that has been known to break those who weren’t ready for the responsibility and has been whispered about by those who cannot hope to aspire to such a role. Yet for all that she demands perfection of herself she becomes more and more unbalanced the further along the movie goes, displaying a severe disconnect with the world around her as she delves deeper and deeper into her own psychosis. The film is decidedly dark and takes a very real tone of despair and even madness as it goes on a twisting plunge that leaves the viewer feeling as though they’ve descended into the same chaos that threatens to swallow the characters whole.
That type of madness is hard to return from unless you’ve been there before.
10. Natalie Portman is a big reason why this film was made.
Portman trained for a year in ballet and did so in the hope that this movie would be made. She even paid for the lessons out of her own pocket.
9. Portman had to modify her voice.
Apparently her voice had too much of a child-like quality to it and the director wanted her to modify it just enough to sound a little more grownup.
8. The director tried to create a rivalry between Mila Kunis and Portman.
This kind of backfired since Kunis and Portman were already friends at this point and couldn’t be turned against one another. Each time they did something right they congratulated each other.
7. Portman lost about 20 pounds for this role.
You can tell throughout the movie that she’s not at her ideal weight as her skin looks so uncomfortably tight over her frame.
6. Kunis was recommended for her role by Portman.
She mentioned Mila to the director and after a Skype meeting Kunis was given the role without having to audition.
5. Portman suffered an injury during filming.
She dislocated a rib during a lift and had to give up her trailer in order to pay for the treatment she needed. It took a while to recover and they lifted her from the armpits afterward.
4. The script took ten years to write.
It might seem like a long time but there was a lot of development that had to be considered and for a play like Swan Lake a lot had to be taken into consideration.
3. The budget was only around $13 million.
This is just about bare bones for a production of this magnitude, but they made it work.
2. Kunis practiced with a dance instructor for 3 months.
She became quite skilled in ballet and had a slight advantage since she’d practiced as a child.
1. Both Kunis and Portman had real ballerinas as their body doubles.
The body doubles were there as a type of safety net so as to complete movements that neither Portman or Kunis could do on their own.
Despite not sounding like it, this movie was very intense.