Portman: I Thought Black Swan Would Kill Me Grueling regimen just a taste of what real dancers go through By Mark Russell, Newser Staff Posted Jan 3, 2011 2:40 AM CST 1 comment Comments Natalie Portman says that her training for the movie Black Swan was so difficult, she thought she might die. (AP Photo/Fox Searchlight, Niko Tavernise, FILE) (Newser) – With her punishing schedule, 8-hour daily rehearsals, and 20-pound weight loss on an almonds-and-carrots diet, Natalie Portman feared her training for the critically acclaimed ballet film Black Swan might kill her, reports the Independent. "There were some nights that I thought I literally was going to die," says Portman, who recently announced that she was engaged to choreographer and co-star Benjamin Millepied—and pregnant. But such suffering and injury is just part of being a professional dancer. "You'll see them do incredible stuff and then limp off stage, straight to a bucket of ice," she said. "Part of the art is hiding all the pain." Although Portman's dedication to her role has earned much praise, the film itself has received mixed reviews, with some dancers calling its portrayal of life in a ballet company "shocking and disturbing."