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DARREN ARONOFSKY: Daring to go further
by Nancy Simon

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Darren Aronofksy: A True Visionary

Darren Aronofksy: A True Visionary
Daring to go where no director has gone before....

Innovative and daring, Indy director Darren Aronofsky has made a name for himself in the industry by intimately presenting people in uncomfortable situations.

Yet, perhaps it is his change in lifestyle (newly married with child) that has dramatically altered his cinematic style.

THE FOUNTAIN, Aronofsky's latest offering is so vastly different from his earlier works, PI and REQUIEM FOR A DREAM, that would find it hard to believe the same person directed all three films.

And Aronofsky did more than just direct the sci-fi drama THE FOUNTAIN, he also wrote it.

A fantastical tale with mystique told via creative imagery the likes of LORD OF THE RINGS and THE MATRIX, THE FOUNTAIN covers more than one thousand years within three parallel stories.

In promotional materials, THE FOUNTAIN is said to be - a story of love, death, spirituality, and the fragility of our existence in this world.

In reality, it is a very original film featuring strong performances by Aronofsky's real-life wife, Rachel Weisz, and hunky actor, Hugh Jackman. Plus, stellar actress Ellyn Burstyn (from REQUIEM FOR A DREAM) is back in a cameo role. Note: The film's cast original consisted of Cate Blanchett and Brad Pitt in the title roles.

An intermixed trilogy, THE FOUNTAIN (at its core) tells the story of husband and wife, Jackman (neuroscientist, Tom) and Weisz (writer, Izzi) who are passionately in love yet plagued by her incurable disease. The film moves from past to present to future without explanation.
The Fountain: Where Sci-Fi Meets Romance

The Fountain: Where Sci-Fi Meets Romance
Apart from the eternal love theme, it is up to the viewer to draw their own conclusions and, in a sense, carve out their own spiritual meanings.

Undaunted by ambitious undertakings, Aronofsky paired with an old college buddy, Ari Handel (a former neuroscience turned writer), to map out the general framework for the THE FOUNTAIN. Their discussions skirted around many topics primarily those though of: neurology, space travel and the history of the Mayan civilization.

As Aronofsky advises theatre-goers at premieres of the THE FOUNTAIN, "It's not a film-it's an experience, so let the movie do you!"

But overall the most fasincating aspect of THE FOUNTAIN is that it is such a departure form Aronofsky's previous analytical works. At the Chicago International Film Festival's premiere of the film, Aronosfky in wanting to ensure audience goers knew what they were in for, made the following disclaimer: "If you think you are here to see REQUIEM FOR A DREAM II, you are likely to be disappointed."

Born in Brooklyn, NY, the 37-year-old writer\ director Aronofsky began making films by using his hometown as a backdrop. In 1998, Aronofsky made his debut at the Sundance Film Festival taking home the Best Director award for the cerebral thriller, PI. The following year he worked on the spiraling addiction saga, REQUIEM FOR A DREAM, the film which gave Jennifer Connelly, as well as, Jared Leto their big breaks in the business.

Working off micro-size budgets by Hollywood standards, Aronofsky made PI for $60,000 and REQUIEM FOR A DREAM for an
Weisz and Aronofsky: An Artistic Couple

Weisz and Aronofsky: An Artistic Couple
estimated $4.5 million.

While THE FOUNTAIN looks like it was made for a great deal more, in reality it was made for approximately $35 million (still considered to be on the low budget side).

After seeing some of the sci-films of the late 90s and early 00s, e.g., MATRIX and 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY; Aronofsky was compelled to create a sci-fi film that veered away what he foresaw to be a growing trend-heavy reliance upon digital imagery.

Quoted in the November 2006 issue of Wired Magazine, Aronofksy comments, "I set the ridiculous goal of making a film that would reinvent space without using CGI."

And while it took him seven years to do so, it does seem as Aronofsky achieved his goal.

At the conclusion of the Wired Magazine interview Aronofsky states, in a somewhat of a vague manner, his next film will be an even bigger fantasy film.

And not certain as to whether either of these two: FLICKER, in which an LA film student decides that B movies are a plot to wipe out life on Earth; or LONE WOLF AND CUB, a live action adaptation of Japanese Kazuo Koiko's novel series centered upon a disgraced Samurai-turned assassin, will be the blockbuster sci-fi epic of which Aronofsky speaks, but one never knows.

To date, Aronofsky has managed to escape the all-too familiar trappings of Hollywood and as such been able to retain a loyal base of fans that revere his work and remain poised at the edge of their squeaky theatre seats waiting to see what he will do next.


Darren Aronofsky on MatchFlick


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Every other Friday

A capsulized profile on an emerging talent, i.e., actor/director in the film world and a snippet as to why he or she is destined to soon become a household name.


Other Columns
Other columns by Nancy Simon:

EMILE HIRSCH: Young Upstart

SIENNA MILLER:B-day Girl\ Factory Girl

DJIMON HOUNSOU: A Diamond in the Rough

ABBIE CORNISH: Who's That Girl?

SOFIA COPPOLA: Stylish Filmmaker

All Columns


Nancy Simon
A Chicago-based freelance writer and film enthusiast, Nancy has an insatiable curiousity and knack for picking out talented, promising individuals.


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If you have a comment, question, or suggestion, you can send a message to Nancy Simon by clicking here.


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