Cheat Sheet: Darren Aronofsky
Date of birth:
12th February, 1969
Place of birth:
Brooklyn, New York
Pi, Requiem for a Dream, The Fountain, The Wrestler, Black Swan
What you probably already know:
Darren Aronofsky is that artsy director who made the ultimate PSHE video in the form of Requiem for a Dream– seriously, if they showed that film in schools the drug-crime rate would drop to almost zero within a generation. Other than (SPOILER ALERT MASSIVE REQUIEM SPOILERS COMING TOWARDS YOUR FACE) cutting Jared Leto’s gangrenous arm off and pushing Jennifer Connelly into prostitution, Aronofsky is probably best known for his two most recent films: The Wrestler (a story starring Mickey Rourke, playing…well, Mickey Rourke) and this year’s awards darling Black Swan. The Hugh Jackman fans amongst you may remember another Aronofsky film, The Fountain but not many others do (in fact some try to actively forget it). He’s currently working with Jackman again on the next Wolverine film, which he promises to be a completely separate work from the noisy blockbuster mess of X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and given his introspective, existential sensibilities as a director most likely will be.
What you might not know:
Aronofsky made his debut in 1998 with π; a super-low budget (an estimated cost of $60,000) film initially financed by $100 donations from his friends and family. Focused on the exploits of a painfully bright mathematician pulled into a nightmarish world by his belief that numbers hold the key to existence, π establishes the themes that were to become pervasive throughout the director’s work: isolation, paranoia and hallucination. This astonishing first film left Aronofsky in a particularly high regard amongst the independent film community. This, coupled with the critical (and relative commercial, considering the film’s ‘unrated’ status upon US release) success of Requiem for a Dream, gave Aronofsky an increased degree of freedom on his next project- the ill fated The Fountain, starring his then wife: Rachel Weisz. Although the film received mixed reviews from critics, commercially it was deemed a flop. Fortunately for Aronofsky, his next film, The Wrestler, offered redemption within the industry for him as well as his lead actor- with Rourke winning the BAFTA and an Academy Award nomination for his performance. His latest release Black Swan seems to have managed what many other directors have failed at: marrying art house sentiment with commercial success. Darren Aronofsky has become the poster boy of the independent film maker come good, achieving success without compromising his artistic sensibilities.
Darren Aronofsky Quote:
“I’m Godless. I’ve had to make my God, and my God is narrative filmmaking.”
What to say at a dinner party:
“Aronofsky seems to revel in taking his audience out of their comfort zone; I think that’s why people have such a strong reaction to films like Requiem and Black Swan, they pull no punches -ahaha, do excuse the pun – in terms of emotional impact.”
What to say not to say at a dinner party:
“So Rachel Weisz is single now, right?”
How much of an existential crisis will Marvel allow Wolverine to have?