Natalie Portman, who portrays a ballerina in her new film Black Swan, had ten years to think about the role.
The director Darren Aronofsky first discussed it with her in 2000, she told HFPA members when she met with them to talk about the movie. "He told me the story and it was always in the back of my mind so I basically had a decade to sit with it and I think it really helped," she said.
The 29-year-old Golden Globe winner, who studied ballet as a child, spent a year training intensely for the role of Nina, a ballerina in a New York City ballet company whose life is consumed with dance but who faces competition from a rival ballerina played by Mila Kunis.
Competition is something that no longer bothers Natalie, who won her Golden Globe in 2004 for her performance in Closer. "When I was younger I would get more competitive and feel threatened by people who were around the same age and maybe looked similar, but now when I get older I just feel that I know my own weirdness and no one else is like me," she said.
"I'm not like anyone else and I can't do what anyone else does. They can't do what I do."