The Black Swan star says her on-screen hook-up with Mila Kunis appeals to men and women

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How do you get both men and women to reach into their pockets to see a movie? The answer, at least for the moviemakers behind Black Swan, was simple: girl-on-girl action.

“Everyone was so worried about who was going to want to see this movie,” the film’s Golden Globe-nominated star Natalie Portman tells Entertainment Weekly. “I remember them being like, ‘How do you get guys to a ballet movie? How do you get girls to a thriller?’ And the answer is a lesbian scene. Everyone wants to see that.”

In Darren Aronofsky’s dark spin on the classic ballet Swan Lake – which is already garnering Oscar buzz – Portman, 29, shares a bed-rocking sex scene with a rival ballerina played by Mila Kunis, 27. The surprising hook-up was just one step in her on-screen transformation into the graceful but troubled Nina Sayers, a role she says quickly became life-consuming.

“There were some nights that I thought I literally was going to die,” Portman says. “It was the first time I understood how you could get so wrapped up in a role that it could sort of take you down.”