Dude, what a movie. I have never felt so genuinely tormented along with the main character as I did watching this (the closest I came was with Mal in Inception but compared to this, that was nothing.) Natalie Portman gives an off the hook performance with her portrayal of a ballerina obsessed with being the Swan Queen in a production of Swan Lake and utterly consumed by her insecurities and emotions in the process. Go watch, you’ll be blown away too.
Psst! Wanna hear some movie trivia?
Meryl Streep was considered to play Erica, Nina’s mother. Oooh that would have been crazy!
The film began as a screenplay called “The Understudy” and took place in the world of New York theater. Darren Aronofsky liked the script, but suggested it be changed to ballet.
The script took around ten years to make it to the screen.
Darren Aronofsky offered Mila Kunis the role of Lily over Skype, without an audition.
Natalie Portman lost 20 pounds to look more like a ballerina.
The budget on this film was so tight that when Natalie Portman had a rib dislocated during a lift and she called the producer for help. She was told that the budget was so low they had no medic. She stated that if they needed to cut items from the budget they could take away her trailer, instead of the medic. The next day her trailer was gone.
Winona Ryder spent 10 days filming her role.
After practicing with a ballet instructor for three months, five hours a day, seven days a week, Mila Kunis learned how to dance en pointe. She had casually practiced ballet as a child.
The soundtrack, composed by Clint Mansell is a variation on Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake” ballet, but played backwards and in a distorted manner.
Natalie Portman revealed that director Darren Aronofsky would subtly try to pit her and Mila Kunis against each other during filming as a way to increase the on-screen tension between their characters.
Due to her twisted rib injury, Natalie Portman had to receive physical therapy during filming. According to the director Darren Aronofsky, Portman is actually undergoing a real physical therapy session in one scene with the actual physical therapist.
Natalie Portman does some of her own dancing, ABT professional ballerina Sarah Lane doubles her. These doubles shots involve complex en pointe work (fouettes, pique turns) and virtually all camera shots that focus below the waist on ‘Portman’s’ legs and feet.
The method which Nina uses to “break in” her toe-shoes are all common – ripping the sole apart, restitching the ribbons in, lighting the end ribbons, spraying the toe-box, and using glass to grate the bottom to gain traction.
Nina’s cell phone ring tone is the Theme of the Black Swan.
The overhead shot of Nina in the bathtub is an exact replica of a shot in the Japanese anime thriller Perfect Blue (1998). Prior to Requiem for a Dream (2000), Darren Aronofsky bought the remake rights to the film just to use that one sequence.