Hope Lies at 24 Frames Per Second spent some time with the cast and crew of Black Swan last November, on behalf of Clothes On Film. To mark the release of the film on Blu-ray and DVD next week Clothes On Film have kindly given us permission to exclusively run this particular interview here on Hope Lies. Our other interviews, with director Darren Aronofsky and actor Vincent Cassel can be found on Clothes On Film and in the Hope Lies archives respectively. 

Hope Lies – You won the Marcello Mastroianni prize for young performer at Venice? How did that feel?

Mila Kunis – It was actually very sad! There was no flight! I couldn’t get the award! My award is being shipped, like Fedex’d! I was shooting and that’s how I found out I had won the award. I was in the middle of a scene, and my phone kept ringing and I was like “something must have happened, someone must be hurt” and so finally I got to the phone and it was Darren and he was like “congratulations!”.

Was Darren someone you particularly wanted to work with?

Yeah, I think Darren is a brilliant director, I’ve been a fan of his ever since I saw Pi and Requiem For A Dream, so I was looking forward to working with him.

What attracted you to this particular script?

Darren. Darren and Nat. And the script was great!

Was it the most physically demanding role you’ve ever had?

By far. Because aesthetically I don’t look like a ballerina, so I had to get in to that physically. I had to lose 20 ibs. I gained It back like that, you know!

Have you any dancing experience in the past?

No, I had to practice four hours a day, 7 days a week for 4 months.  And then production was another four months!

That’s an incredible amount of focus.

Yeah, but it was great to get so much rehearsal time, that rarely happens, it was great to have so much preparation time.

What kept you going through that training period?

Baths! Really, I couldn’t cope, I wouldn’t wish it on anybody! I think anyone who at 26 is going to attempt to be a professional ballerina is going to physically kill themselves. Baths are what I looked forward to, every single night! And a glass of wine!

We’re you comparing war wounds with Natalie then?

We didn’t have to compare, we saw it happening right before our eyes! Its rare that a role like this comes about though, so complaining seems wrong.

You had some quite intimate  scenes with Natalie, does it make it easier doing those kind of scenes with someone who is a friend, as opposed to someone else?

I think so yeah. Anytime you have to do a sex scene it’s uncomfortable, so if you’re comfortable with your partner in a scene it makes it a lot easier.

How has this transition from television to film worked out?

The transition only happened recently. When I did American Psycho 2 I was still doing That 70’s Show,  and up until then acting was never a career. I went to school, graduated high school and dropped out of college, but it was never a career. I mean, I always assumed this was just short term, and then inevitably I’d find a career, and become an adult!

It’s interesting that you say that, just how strategic are you with your career?

As strategic as one could be. It’s impossible to think five films ahead. I’m in a position were I don’t have to work for the sake of working, so I’m very lucky, and I could always sit back and wait for a project that I respond to and that I want to do.

Do you think Black Swan will be the definitive transition film then?

I don’t think you ever can tell. From every film you learn something new, but from my experience you never know what film is going to open what doors, and it always happens when you least expect it. I mean, Forgetting Sarah Marshall got me noticed for Black Swan!

What was the audition process like? It’s not really the sort of role that gets shopped about in the normal manner is it? Darren doesn’t seem to be the sort of filmmaker who works in that way.

I didn’t have an audition, we just chit-chatted. We chatted once, he sent me the script, and then we chatted again when I’d read the script discussing the character and how I saw the character and whatnot. And then the third time we chatted he was like “so are you ready to do this?”. He offered me the role on video chat!

So what’s your take on the character?

What you saw was pretty much the character. The beauty of Darren is that he trusts everyone around him, which is always a rarity in this industry. There’s no ego, and he trusts the actors that he works with. The character was so hard to interpret because you can take it any which way, and no one is wrong.

So there was never anything specific in mind?

The only thing specific was in trying to bring honesty to the character. I never played her as a figment of Nina’s imagination.