We already heard about the amazing Rodarte costumes for Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan. According to Lauren’s review of the ballet thriller (out nationwide December 3), the costumes–Swarovski encrusted tutus and spider web-y warm up knits–nearly upstage the stellar, not to mention creepy, performances by stars Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis.
But just how they got their bodies into ballerina shape is another story. Kunis, who lost 20 lbs. for her role, told People mag that she “looked like Gollum from Lord of the Rings! … Everything was just protruding.”
Though Portman had some ballet experience (she gave up the barre at 13), she trained for six months before filming, putting in five hours a day, six days a week. And while it might seem Portman already had the perfect body to play a ballerina, she needed to work on her thighs.
“We’d work on her inner thighs to change how her leg was shaped but it’d also help her get a tighter fifth position,” Mary Helen Bowers, the former New York City Ballet dancer who trained Portman, told Elle.
Getting on pointe proved the biggest challenge for the actress. “Getting her on her toes for the first time was a big adjustment—it was very foreign to her at first—so we started with basic relevés in first position and branched off from there,” says Bowers.
But all the hard work paid off. According to Bowers, 90% of the dancing you see in the movie (sans the pirouettes) is Portman–even the upside-down splits.