Mila Kunis is not a lesbian. This much she’d like to make clear from the outset, following incessant questioning about her sexuality derived from that scene with Natalie Portman in Darren Aronofsky’s new film, the Oscar-nominated (and frankly -winning, if there’s any justice or sense next month) Black Swan.
“I was asked again just the other day, by an Italian journalist”, the diminuitive actress told me in a West London hotel room at the tail end of last year. “’You play lesbo, you lesbo real life?’ were her exact words”.
So with only a cursory discussion about that infamous oral sex scene, here’s what Mila had to say about Black Swan, acting versus ballet, and her other life as the voice of Meg from Family Guy. Q&As with co-star Vincent Cassell and Aronofsky himself to follow later this week.
How was filming the notorious girl-on-girl scene with Portman?
Darren told us we had to be really sexy, and I kept thinking ‘what is sexy?’. How do you portray sexy? Really you don’t, a person who’s naturally sexy doesn’t do it, they just are. That was probably the hardest thing to try to figure out – the sexuality – and make it as realistic as possible and not grotesque.
Is it true you first met Darren Aronofsky – and got the part – through iChat?
Correct. It’s the first time I’ve ever done it. By the end of the third conversation I was in the film. It was all very strange. It all came backwards, because I then had to call my agents to tell them I got a movie, versus them calling me to tell me. I was like, ‘do I get my 10% now?’.
How much preparation did you have to undertake for the film?
I’ve never danced in my life, but I began three months before we started production. It was seven days a week, four or five hours a day. It was not the easiest of things. I hyperextended my shoulder and tore a ligament, although I came off comparatively lightly.
Are you a ballet fan now?
I respect ballet. That’s not to say that I never respected it before, but I never quite understood how rigorous it was and how much work actually goes into it.
Did you fraternise with any ballerinas?
No. I was trained by a ballerina. She was 21 years old; she had at that point broken her back twice. So there was no fraternising. The worlds of ballet and acting are somewhat similar, but the ballet world’s so much more competitive. And so much more brutal.
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Is there a parrallel between the life of a ballerina and an actress?
In a way. I’ve been acting for years and have perfected the art of rejection. I know exactly how to take it. This whole industry’s based on rejection. But the difference between the ballet world and the film industry is as much as you can get rejected in film, and as much as I did get rejected, you can still progress because each time is just a matter of opinion. You just have to fight for it. In the ballet world there’s only so far you can go. Once you’re rejected, you’re done.
Is your character Lily really that evil?
Well, there’s Lily and then there’s [Portman’s protagonist] Nina’s perception of Lily. I don’t think she was a bitch. And I don’t think that she was ever bad or evil. It’s an interpretation so it always depended on how Nina was. Whatever she did, I did the opposite.
How’s life as the voice of Meg in Family Guy?
Family Guy is the greatest job in the world. It’s not even like doing TV for me. You don’t see me. It’s just my voice. I could do it anywhere in the world. I could record it from London.
Were you recording it simultaneously with Black Swan?
Yep, I would go and shoot Black Swan, and then I would go into a recording studio, and they would patch me in to a line into LA, with Seth MacFarlane. I would record my Meg bits and go home. I mean it’s the greatest job in the world. Truly. I recommend it to everybody.
Black Swan is out now