Natalie Portman Talks ‘Black Swan’ Masturbation Scene

‘So disgusting,’ still-squeamish actress tells MTV News of filming scene.
By Kara Warner and Irene Lee, with reporting by Josh Horowitz

Natalie Portman in “Black Swan”

Photo: Fox Searchlight

“Black Swan” has been generating awards-season buzz for months, much of it focused on Natalie Portman’s chilling performance as a self-destructive and psychologically unstable ballerina, Nina Sayers. When the movie opens this Friday, audiences will finally get to see the physical and emotional extremes that Portman portrays onscreen.

One of the more memorable physical moments involves an especially graphic scene in which Portman’s character is masturbating and nearly gets caught by her mother. When MTV News caught up with the possible Best Actress contender, we asked for her thoughts on that part of the film.

“So disgusting,” Portman said of shooting the sequence. “It was akin to the experience of watching the movie with my parents sitting next to me, let me tell you.”

The 29-year-old also called the “finger scene” — in which Nina pulls at a loose piece of skin on her finger, causing it to bleed — particularly gruesome.

Portman’s co-star Vincent Cassel plays the handsome, manipulative artistic director who exploits Nina’s insecurities to his advantage. Cassel told us he wasn’t at all surprised by Portman’s squeamishness.

“I don’t know what I can say about the finger scene, for example, because I’m not really part of it,” he said. “But, I guess, you know, it’s already a little hard to watch yourself on the screen when suddenly you have to go through sexual things. It’s not easy for us. Trust me,” he said.

“It’s difficult being a sex symbol, isn’t it, Vincent?” Portman teased her co-star. Cassel quickly shot back with a laugh, “I don’t know, tell me!”

Are you eager to see Natalie Portman take on a dark ballerina in “Black Swan”? Tell us in the comments!

Check out everything we’ve got on “Black Swan.”

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