Darren Aranofsky: Black Swan Director Tried To Pit Natalie Portman Against Mila Kunis

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It may have won her a Best Actress Oscar, but filming Black Swan may have been the biggest challenge of Natalie Portman's life.

Mila Kunis Natalie Portman SAG Awards 2011

Not only did she have to lose twenty pounds, train in ballet and work 16-hour days, but she had to listen to director Darren Aranofsky try and get her to compete with co-star Mila Kunis in order to make the jealousy between their characters seem authentic.

Over the weekend, Vogue did a 5 Things You Didn't Know feature on Portman, who makes her directorial debut in A Tale of Love And Darkness.

“He’d say, ‘Oh, Mila is doing really well on her stuff. She’s so much better than you,’” Portman, who first talked about this in November 2010, revealed.

“Darren would tell us things about each other to try to make us jealous. I think he was trying to create a rivalry in real life between us.”

Portman knew the role required method acting, but she wasn't about to be pitted against someone she liked.  She and Kunis were friends prior to filming, and that did not change once Swan wrapped.

“Mila and I had had ‘sweatpants nights’ watching Top Chef,” Portman recalled before production started, “and suddenly we were on set together in tutus, emaciated and tired.”

While Aranofsky doesn't think he was pitting the old friends against one another, there was a method to his madness.

“I knew it might be really hard to keep them apart because they’re friends, but I just didn’t want them to know each other’s motives,” the director explained.

“I didn’t want them to compare notes. I wanted them to come from different places.”

Still, it was Portman's idea to cast Kunis.

"It was really crazy, because Mila and I were very good friends," Portman told MTV News at the time.

"And when Darren asked me, 'Who do you think could do this part? Who has sort of a similar height, coloring, physique?'

"'I was like, 'Oh, Mila, Mila, Mila!' He met her and obviously flipped over her, and she's super talented and does an amazing job in the movie."

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