Mila Kunis And Natalie Portman Were Pitted Against Each Other On Set (But Rose Above The Rivalry)

"Black Swan" showcased a dark side of the beautiful art of ballet when it was released in 2010. The film grossed over $300 million worldwide, earning Natalie Portman an Oscar award for best actress, while Mila Kunis starred as Lily, an understudy to Portman's character, Nina. Viewers witnessed the two go head to head for the lead role in "Swan Lake," with Nina trying to embody the dark and seductive black swan, though she possesses the perfect characteristics for the white swan. While the ladies were intense rivals on-screen, many fans had no idea they were being molded to be this way when the cameras weren't rolling.

Both Portman and Kunis have admitted that director Darren Aronofsky tried to divide them during the film's production. As if the physical toll was not enough, they were told things that would sway them towards having an issue with one another, despite being close friends before filming took place. Portman and Kunis still managed to overcome the tension and remain friends outside the movie, but not before being constantly pitted together on set.

Darren Aronofsky tried to make the women jealous of one another

During the filming of the critically acclaimed movie, Darren Aronofsky seemingly wanted to create as much drama as possible in the storyline. To do so, he found ways to make his stars, Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis, envious of one another. When speaking with the Los Angeles Times in 2010, Portman admitted that she believed Aronofsky wanted to create drama between the off-camera friends.

"He'd say, 'Oh, Mila is doing really well on her stuff. She's so much better than you,'" Portman explained. Since the film was so heavily rooted in competition between its two main characters, the actress theorized that Aronofsky wanted the women to be jealous of one another, which would translate to their fictional characters. Aronofsky maintains he never wanted the two starlets to compete with one another, however, he did have another method for inadvertently building some distance among the stars.

Mila Kunis and Natalie Portman were kept separated for much of the filming

Before "Black Swan" came along, Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis spent weekends scouring the Rose Bowl Flea Market in Los Angeles and catching the latest episodes of "Top Chef." However, during the movie's 42-day shoot, Darren Aronofsky wanted to put an end to this bond, at least briefly. Aronofsky told the Los Angeles Times that he would keep them apart for much of the production. He claimed that he did not want his lead actresses to know too much about each other's roles so that they'd approach them with very different perspectives. Additionally, he'd make them go through ballet training at separate times.

Despite a strenuous film that took a toll on both women mentally and physically, Portman and Kunis were able to maintain their bond once filming ceased, noting that there was no real animosity between them. After all, it was Portman who nominated Kunis to tackle the role of Lily once she was already cast in her leading slot. As most real friends do, the women have supported one another through it all.