Natalie Portman went the extra mile to prepare for role in Black Swan
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Featured Image Credit: Twentieth Century Fox
Anyone who has ever seen either a video of ballet or a live performance will understand just how physically demanding it is.
Dancers might appear to be weightless as they float and glide over and across the stage, but the reality is they are just very, very physically fit and exceptionally skilled.
In fact, the actor has since revealed the extremely demanding training regimen she had to go through for the film.
Even the fitness alone was striking, without the gruelling ballet exercises.
The star revealed: “We usually started by swimming a mile a day, doing the front crawl and breaststroke.
“Then we'd do 2 hours of ballet exercises and resistance work."
And all this reportedly on a diet of carrots and almonds.
I don't know about you, but I feel tired just reading that.
The film follows an ambitious ballet dancer called Nina Sayers, played by Portman, as her company stages a performance of Swan Lake.
Nina is keen to be cast in the leading role, playing both the fragile White Swan and the sensuous and commanding Black Swan.
She succeeds in being cast, but as the movie progresses the line between what is real and what isn't becomes increasingly blurred.
Not only that, but Nina's hallucinations become more and more disturbing, with the film building to a seemingly triumphant conclusion.
The role of Nina is certainly no mean feat, and Portman revealed that her brutal training regimen for the movie helped her to understand the character better.
She said: "The physical discipline of it really helped for the emotional side of the character because you get the sense of the monastic lifestyle of only working out, that is a ballet dancer's life.
"You don't drink, you don't go out with your friends, you don't have much food and you are constantly putting your body through extreme pain, so you get that understanding of the self-flagellation of a ballet dancer."
But the eight hours of training, swimming, ballet, and cross fit certainly paid off for Portman in the end when she won an academy award for her performance in the 2011 film.
So when she went up for the role of Thor in the Marvel Cinematic Universe film Thor: Love and Thunder, the workouts for that role must have been a piece of cake.
At the time, she said: "I’ve had like months of pandemic, eating baked goods and laying in bed and feeling sorry for myself. I’m, like, super tired after working out. And during. And dreading before.”