Director Darren Aronofsky talks about the upcoming Hugh Jackma / Rachel Weisz Starrer, The Fountain
Recently Movieweb had a chance to sit down with auteur filmmaker Darren Aronofsky. Always infusing his films with larger concepts on an ever expanding canvas, his newest offering The Fountain, is a 2000 year odyssey about one man's struggle to save the woman he loves. With a sci-fi backdrop, this very ambitious project is just what we've come to expect from a filmmaker who continues to push not only the boundaries of cinema but himself.
Okay, what goes into your thought process when you choose a movie? Here's why I ask? Requiem For a Dream, Pi, you're not just churning them out... you're making stuff?
Darren Aronofsky: I don't know, I guess it's what hits me, you know? To make a film you gotta wake up every day for two years... and wanna get out of bed to work on it. And unless you're really into it... in this case it was 6 years (laughs), so you gotta really be into your themes, your characters, your story otherwise you're not going to get anything done. It's too hard, I don't know how people make films that they don't really want to make.
Why did you want to make this film?
Darren Aronofsky: That's a hard reason to tell. It's hard to say. It's really hard to put words into it... it was just something that kept me going; for 6 years I just stuck with it. I just think it was cool. I've always thought that making a film about the Tree of Life would be something really interesting. Cause no one's ever done it... yet, it's so deep in all of themes. Everyone would want to live forever. But what does it actually mean to live forever? Those are some of the questions you start playing with, you know? I mean, are we still human if we don't die? Or, are we still human if our parents don't die? Are we still human if you don't have to go through that experience? That's what we start playing with, some of those ideas.
What's it like going from a movie like Pi which was as guerilla as they possibly come, which I thought was awesome, I saw it with my parents too...What's it like going from that...
Darren Aronofsky: to this.
Darren Aronofsky: You know ultimately I think my job is the same thing.
Regardless of if there's more zeros at the end...
Darren Aronofsky: Yeah, I think other people, their departments change, because they have departments (laughter) versus Pi, one guy was shooting it, one guy was doing sound, now all of the sudden you have all these people running around. I think you're job as a director, you've gotta be very detail oriented, you gotta make sure that you're telling the right story. It's all the same issues and the same questions. It's just how they get told.
Have you seen the movie Primer?
Darren Aronofsky: I haven't.
I saw that movie and I was like, "These two guys..."
Darren Aronofsky: Is it good?
Yes, I thought it was the best movie of last year, but the thing about that movie is that when I saw it, the first movie I thought of was Pi. Because every so often you see films that make you realize you're dealing with guys that are smarter then the average bear. In a movie like Pi, or in a movie like The Fountain, how are you able to deal which such big themes and make them come across in such a way that people can understand them?
Darren Aronofsky: I think at the core of all stories is an emotional story. And I think Requiem and Pi, you had to find that human story in there. Now, The Fountain is really a love story between Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz. That's the core of the film. It's just told in a really kind of fantastical way with some cool images thrown in. So for me, I want my movies to be fun. I go to the movie theater to have a good time and be taken on a roller coaster ride, and I think the biggest crime is to be bored in a movie theater. I try and construct roller coaster rides that are enjoyable and then if you leave the ride afterwards and you're still thinking about it, that's great. That's an extra bonus because that makes you want to go do it again. That's really the game here, that's what I'm playing. To give audiences a good time and then I get to talk about some cool ideas. That's about it.
Would you say that Pi is a love story too? About a man loving his work? His relationship...
Darren Aronofsky: I think so, I think, I don't know if I would use the word love there, but he's definitely deeply obsessive. He's on his own trip. That was fun movie, I gotta see that again. I haven't seen it in so long. Does it hold up at all... is it okay?
It does, trust me.
Darren Aronofsky: I gotta see Primer too. What happened is I got a shitty VHS copy of it...
Darren Aronofsky: Of Primer. Right after Sundance or something, and it just didn't look good so I have to get another copy. It's worth seeing though, huh?
Oh yeah. Definitely. Do you think you'll ever do a comedy?
Darren Aronofsky: When I got out of film school I had friends that were in a sketch comedy group, and, it's funny Chris Rock called me up and took me out to dinner. I was psyched because I'm a huge fan. And he was like, "Man, you get tragedy, you get tragedy you can do comedy." So I would love to do a comedy but it would have to be the right thing. I would love to be able to just go shoot a movie and get paid and just do my job, I don't know, for some reason I just make myself suffer.