Interview: Darren Aronofsky – Part 3

Darren Aronofsky is the director of Pi, Requiem for a Dream and The Fountain. His latest film won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, and was bought by Fox Searchlight the morning after it premiered at the Toronto Film Festival (You can read my review here). Earlier this week, I was granted the chance to sit down with Aronofsky for a half hour interview. You can read the first part and the second part of the interview at the provided links. Enjoy.

Peter Sciretta: Speaking of boxing. What’s going on with The Fighter?

Darren Aronofsky: We have a beautiful screenplay. It’s based on, you probably know, Mickey Ward. It’s a great great project. As I told you I love sports movies. Rudy and Chariots of Fire are some of my favorite films. Fighter is a great script. Scott Silver wrote it. He’s the guy who wrote Eight Mile. So we have a great script, we’re just trying to cast it and try and figure out how it’s going to get made.

Peter Sciretta: So right now is it kind of on the back burner? Last I heard that Mark Wahlberg was training?

Darren Aronofsky: Mark is training. Mark’s totally gung-ho, he just sent me text that he wants to see [the Wrestler] this week. So I guess I’ll set up a screening for him in L.A. He’s totally gung-ho and I think it’s a great project. It’s been in development so long there’s a lot of money against it already. They’re trying to figure that out but I’m ready to go on it.

Peter Sciretta: And when I first saw the rumors Robocop I was like “No way! This can’t be rea!?”

Darren Aronofsky: Well, what I like about Robocop is that it’s Hollywood is making big films right now and I’ve always had an interest in that. You know about my flirtations with some of those other projects, but which at some point we’ll set the record straight on a lot of it because there’s a lot of bullshit out there about all this stuff… But what the thing I like about Robocop is that it’s not as iconic as those other titles, and I think that fans of it will be open to reinterpretation. And yet a studio will probably back it because it’s got that tent pole feeling to it. I think it could be a lot of fun if we can get the script right. I’ve always had an interest in doing big movies, and not just doing independent films. And that’s why I’ve tried to get them going a lot. The whole thing with The Dark Knight was that through that whole process I was always trying to make The Fountain and because I was on the Fountain for six years, they moved on. But that was my main goal and when they offered the project to me I thought it was probably the smartest thing to do since this was before Requiem for a Dream had any fan base. I figured they’re never going to hire me to do something with the Fountain. I had to get them to perceive me as being a bigger director, so that’s why I agreed to write it.

Peter Sciretta: So Batman: Year One was almost like a stepping stone?

Darren Aronofsky: It was, the whole step. The whole game for me was to make The Fountain. And for the last 6 or 7 years that’s all I wanted to do. The Batman job was just a way of getting to see it. Watchmen… I was on Watchman for a week. I was literally on it for a week. David Hayter wrote a fuckin amazing script. I mean, he really caught it. Zack Snyder’s Trailer looks fucking great. I can not wait, couldn’t believe it. But literally I was on for a week. They said were you interested? I said yeah. We set it up at Paramount in a meeting. And then they said, let’s hire a production designer and this was literally when Hugh Jackman had just come on and the Fountain thing was going. So I was like, “Guys, I’m about to shoot The Fountain. You know, we can hire a designer but I’m going to be shooting this movie while that’s happening.” Then they quickl put Paul Greengrass on it. So I had very little to do with the project. I wish they would remove my name from both of those projects because I never really got involved.

Peter Sciretta:
Back to Robocop, is it going to be a sequel or is it a remake.

Darren Aronofsky: It’s absolutely unrelated to the original. As Mike Medavoy already went on the record. David Self and my team have been working really hard on it. It’s a completely new universe.

Peter Sciretta: Is it going to be set in the future, or is it going to be today?

Darren Aronofsky: It’s going to be the future. And it’s really great. We’ve got to nail the script then we’ve got to find a script that the studio wants to make. So we’ve got work to do…

Peter Sciretta: So tell me this, with The Fountain you did so many practical special effects, like that whole climax sequence… with Robocop would you be…

Darren Aronofsky: I have no idea. I have no idea. It’s so early, but I think cyborgs are really interesting, because… I think it’s so funny. I got an MRI. Here’s a funny story. The last day of shooting, Mickey made me jump off the top rope. He made the whole crew jump off the top rope. I went first, and it was the last day of shooting, after a grueling shoot. It was late at night, and I was wearing boots. I wasn’t even wearing sneakers and I jumped. I got over the top rope and my tip of my toe caught the top rope and I went bam! I landed on my fuckin’ head and on my neck. My neck was killing me for five weeks, so I went to get MRI. I’m fine, but to take an MRI, you can’t have any metal on your body because it’s basically a giant magnet. So there’s a check list of probably 30 things that you could have. Like an eyelid shutter, pacemakers, re-implants. I couldn’t believe the different types of things that people have in their bodies. And I realized you know what? We are in a cyborg culture, we are part cyborg already. It’s only a matter of time till we have the cell phones in our head and the mp3 players in our ears…

Peter Sciretta:
And it’s all going to get more nano too.

Darren Aronofsky: Yeah, so there are a lot of interesting themes out there that connect even more than when Verhoeven did it. A nd I have full 100 percent respect for that, but I kind of don’t even want to go near that territory, except for the “bitches, leave!” line. [laughs] Otherwise I think that’s the only shout out to the movie we’ll have.

Peter Sciretta: That’s awesome. The only other thing I wanted to ask you about is when you were in San Francisco with The Fountain, you told me about your next project, which was going to be a religious film…

Darren Aronofsky: That was Noah.

Peter Sciretta:
Yes, Noah, what’s happening with that?

Darren Aronofsky: We have an amazing screenplay.

Peter Sciretta: Who wrote it??

Darren Aronofsky: I wrote it. Me and Ari Handel, the guy who worked on the Fountain. It’s a great script and it’s HUGE. And we’re starting to feel out talent. And then we’ll probably try and set it up…

Peter Sciretta: So this isn’t something you can make for six million dollars?

Darren Aronofsky: No, this is big. I mean, Look… It’s the end of the world and it’s the second most famous ship after the Titanic. So I’m not sure why any studio won’t want to make it.

Peter Sciretta: [laughs]

Darren Aronofsky: [laughs]

Peter Sciretta: You would hope so.?

Darren Aronofsky: Yeah, I would hope so. It’s a really cool project and I think it’s really timely because it’s about environmental apocalypse which is the biggest theme, for me, right now for what’s going on on this planet. So I think it’s got these big, big themes that connect with us. Noah was the first environmentalist. He’s a really interesting character. Hopefully they’ll let me make it. Oh that’s right I forgot I told you that whole religious thing.

[At this point a publicist came in to drag Darren away]

Darren Aronofsky: I had forgotten about San Francisco but now I totally remember. All right, man, it’s been really good to see you. Thank you so much.

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