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Natalie Portman in step with "Black Swan"

 Actress Natalie Portman poses for photographers on the red carpet for the annual black-tie White House Correspondents Dinner, at the Washington Hilton, in Washington, May 9, 2009. REUTERS/Mike Theiler - Reuters
Actress Natalie Portman poses for photographers on the red carpet for the annual black-tie White House Correspondents Dinner, at the Washington Hilton, in Washington, May 9, 2009. REUTERS/Mike Theiler
— image credit: Reuters

By Steven Zeitchik

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Natalie Portman has agreed to play the lead in Darren Aronofsky's "Black Swan," a development that could help the stalled project take flight.

"Swan" -- a supernatural thriller set in the world of New York City ballet -- was set up in early 2007 at Universal, but the studio eventually dropped the project. It has been making the rounds of studios and specialty divisions.

"Swan" centers on a veteran ballerina who finds herself locked in a competitive situation with a rival dancer, with the stakes and twists increasing as the dancers approach a big performance. But it's unclear whether the rival is a supernatural apparition or if the protagonist is deluded.

Those who have read the script say it's a spine-tingler with elements of "The Others."

Aronofsky, whose acclaimed Mickey Rourke-starring drama "The Wrestler" has put him in high demand, has been developing the "Robocop" reboot at MGM.

(Editing by Sheri Linden at Reuters)

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