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CON: Darren Aronofsky

08.16.2005
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THE FOUNTAIN
1:1 with Darren Aronofsky

"I just want to tell stories and this is the story I've wanted to tell for the past six years."

I met Darren Aronofsky in a conference room big enough to hold at least 200 people. There the two of us sat, together at a table in the middle of this cavernous room. Odd considering this was perhaps one of the most intimate interviews I've ever had. Darren is an intensely personable guy and I eventually had to cut some parts out below because while Darren was interested in my thoughts on the film and the footage, I already covered most of that in my Con write-up. We spent at least 5-10 minutes bullshitting before I even got started asking relevant questions. He was such a great guy to talk to and was legitimately bummed to know that JoBlo, who he had met on the set visit, wasn't going to be around. Here's our talks on THE FOUNTAIN...

How serendipitous is it that the movie happened the way it did? It must've been devastating at the time but looking back on it, it must be one of the best things that's happened to you.

In some ways it is. I was ready to go and it was going to be a good movie. But that was sort of a different film. That was October of 2002. And now it's...what is it?

July.

Right. July 2005. So it's kind of a film that I made but no one else saw. This is a completely different movie. They're clearly related but... The only thing about this film is that we had all that research and pre- stuff that we had done. All the homework had already been done. So it is nice to now be seeing some light at the end of the tunnel.

You say these are two "completely different" movies. What changed along the way? Obviously the core is still the same...

Yeah, that's exactly right. It went from a $90 million film to a $35 million film. Nothing was really lost. That was the amazing thing. It's ultimately the same film as what it was. It's just a different...there is a different energy to it. It's interesting because the film is about rebirth. A big theme of the film is rebirth. It kinda had to die to be reborn. It's weird that what it's about also happened. It was a real adventure and a long trip. You hear all these stories about all these filmmakers that fight with Hollywood and have these long, terrible journeys and I thought I was gonna have an easy ride (laughs) but I'm glad I stuck with it. It's what I wanted to make. For me it's not a race of how many films you can do. I just want to tell stories and this is the story I've wanted to tell for the past six years. Finally we've gotten to tell it and that's pretty cool.

Were you able to use any of the sets from the original production?

They actually sold them. They auctioned them off about three months before we started work on this version (laughs).

Who would buy that? What use could someone have for some of that stuff??

(Laughs) I know. Well I have a friend in Melbourne and she went to a theme restaurant down there, like a Jekyll & Hyde, and they had all our mines and skulls that you say in the battle scenes. The first time we made them they took all those and a theme restaurant stuck him up and put them in there.

After it was shut down, was Warner Bros. still interested in making the film in some fashion?

I think they would've been happy if I had just disappeared. The persistence of my filmmaking partners of just pushing and pushing and pushing is the only reason it got made. No one really wanted to make it. Pretty much everyone in Hollywood said "no" to this movie at least once.

After it got shut down?

No before it got shut down...

After it got shut down did you try and shop it around to other studios besides Warners?

Yeah we tried to set it up everywhere several times. At lot of people just kept saying, no, no, no, no. So it was very, very hard to do. A long time ago, when we were trying to make REQUIEM, my producer said, "The more people say 'no' to you, the more you know you're doing something right." And I think that's true. I think there's enough people out there making things that Hollywood thinks people want to see. And I think people do want to see that sometimes. I love big movies but I think every once in a while I have an appetite for something a little different. THE FOUNTAIN hopefully will fill that.

Judging by the audience response to the footage, it just might.

How'd it look?!

I was supposed to come up here for this but I saw the trailer and knew I had to stick around for the rest.

So you saw the 10-minute piece?

Yeah.

How'd it look?!

It looked great. Really wowed me.

Did it let you down in any way?

Absolutely not. Quite the opposite actually. I've actually been trying to keep myself spoiler free on this one so a lot of what I saw was very new and surprising, which is rare when you write about movies for a living.

What did it seem like to you?

Some of the scenes were just so beautiful. Not just in the clip but in the trailer as well. A lot of emotion there. Like the scene when Hugh and Rachel are on the rooftop looking at the stars.

Wait, what did you see?

That part was in the trailer.

Oh yeah... They had the rooftop in the trailer?

Yeah.

Did you read the script?

No and I don't want to until I see the movie.

How'd you know it was a rooftop?

One of our guys was on-set in Montreal. Plus there was the promotional still.

Ohh, that's right. There was the photograph of that scene.

And the action sequences looked fantastic. Especially considering this is the scaled back version budget-wise.

Yeahyeahyeah. Cool. What'd that space stuff look like to you?

It was really fascinating. It was kinda like a slow reveal. [Hugh] is just sitting there meditating, but then you see he's floating. And then you see he's floating in a bubble. In space. Going millions of miles an hour. A real great tease cause now I'm dying to know how this all fits together.

Good, cool.

How are things going on LONE WOLF & CUB?

We're writing. Another draft is happening. It's been very challenging to make it work. Coming along...

Have you even decided definitively what your next project will be yet?

I haven't gotten to a place where I'm strong enough in my footing where I can branch out yet. But we're thinking.

How involved are you in the graphic novel adaptation of THE FOUNTAIN?

I wrote it. It's based on the screenplay and then I placed all the words and edited it. It's coming out in November.

Same time as the movie?

No before the movie. It's gonna be a hardcover, sort of, "Collector's Edition."

When is the movie coming out? Will it be this year?

There isn't a date but it WILL be this year.

Thanks a lot Darren, can't wait to finally see this.

No problem. Listen, send my regards to Berge in Montreal. Hope he feels better.

Click here to read our one-on-one interview with THE FOUNTAIN star Rachel Weisz

CLICK IMAGE TO OPEN GALLERY & SEE MORE PICS...

Source: JoBlo.com

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3:33PM on 08/16/2005

Can't Wait!

Requiem was absolutely amazing... made me sick to my stomach by the end of it, so he did somethign really right. Sounds like an insane labor of love this Fountain project... Looking forward to see if they nailed it. I would love to know what happened to his Batman movie... I just know it would have been better then Begins.. I mean who cares really, maybe it would sucked, not fair to compare something that never existed to something that is released... but still, Batman Begins was a let down
Requiem was absolutely amazing... made me sick to my stomach by the end of it, so he did somethign really right. Sounds like an insane labor of love this Fountain project... Looking forward to see if they nailed it. I would love to know what happened to his Batman movie... I just know it would have been better then Begins.. I mean who cares really, maybe it would sucked, not fair to compare something that never existed to something that is released... but still, Batman Begins was a let down even if it was a step in the right direction. So heres hoping Darren continues to improve, and treat us to his work.
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10:38AM on 08/16/2005
Oh my god, the waiting is just too painful! This movie can't come out soon enough. I've been longing for the next piece of Aronofsky creativity for way too long, and I believe this shall be absolutely fantastic! I want a release date!
Oh my god, the waiting is just too painful! This movie can't come out soon enough. I've been longing for the next piece of Aronofsky creativity for way too long, and I believe this shall be absolutely fantastic! I want a release date!
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