Natalie Portman Thought ‘Black Swan’ Was Going to Be a Docudrama, Admits She Was ‘Completely Surprised’ by the Final Cut

“It was an amazing wake-up call that film is a director’s medium,” Portman told Vanity Fair about watching Darren Aronofsky’s horror-thriller.

Natalie Portman’s transformative performance in “Black Swan” won her the Oscar for Best Actress, but the finished movie is not anything like what she thought she was making during filming with director Darren Aronofsky and cinematographer Matthew Libatique. The actress revealed in a recent video interview with Vanity Fair the “Black Swan” theatrical cut shocked her, mainly because Aronofsky never led her to believe they were making something along the lines of a horror psychodrama.

“When I saw the final cut I was completely surprised by what the movie was like. I thought we were shooting something like almost documentary style, and then I watched it and it was an over the top thriller,” Portman said. “It was an amazing wake-up call that film is a director’s medium and as an actor you have no idea what’s going on and you’re being led and shaped.”

Portman wasn’t mad at all about how “Black Swan” turned out, and years later she still looks back on the production with fond memories. “It was an incredible experience for so many reasons,” she said. “I had always loved dance so much. It is the art I am most moved by, that expresses things that can’t be expressed by other media. It took 10 years for it to come together.”

“Darren was a great collaborator,” Portman continued. “Darren was genuinely interested in my point of view and my input. It felt like a partnership.”

“Black Swan” marked Portman’s second career Oscar nomination, following a Best Supporting Actress nom for “Closer” in 2005. Since the Aronofsky project, Portman has gone on to earn another Best Actress nomination for “Jackie” in 2017. The actress is returning to Oscar season next month with her acclaimed role as a spiraling pop star in Brady Corbet’s “Vox Lux,” opening in select theaters December 7. Portman is being campaigned by distributor Neon in the Best Supporting Actress category.

Watch Portman’s Vanity Fair interview in the video embed below.

‘Manta Ray’ and ‘Bulbul Can Sing’ win Mumbai Festival Prizes

Phuttiphong Aroonpheng’s “Manta Ray” won the Mumbai Film Festival’s Golden Gateway award in the international competition on Thursday. It previously won best film at Venice’s Horizon section and has toured the Toronto, Thessaloniki, San Sebastian festi…

Phuttiphong Aroonpheng’s “Manta Ray” won the Mumbai Film Festival’s Golden Gateway award in the international competition on Thursday. It previously won best film at Venice’s Horizon section and has toured the Toronto, Thessaloniki, San Sebastian festivals. Marcelo Martinessi’s “The Heiresses” won the Silver Gateway award in the competition, after winning accolades worldwide, including three awards […]

Darren Aronofsky Produces PSA Calling on Generation Z to Vote — Watch

Every vote counts, now more than ever.

As a general rule, young people aren’t great at showing up on election day. Among the many, many people who’d like to see that change is Darren Aronofsky, who has produced a PSA calling on Generation Z to vote in the midterms on November 6. Turnout among 18-20 year olds who are eligible to make their presence felt at the ballot box for the first time isn’t expected to be high, but it’s clearer than ever that every vote counts.

“First time voters have the power to make a massive impact in the upcoming midterm elections, but 18-20 year olds are part of a demographic that has historically failed to participate in National Elections. It’s time to change that,” said Aronofsky in a statement accompanying the video. “We are working with a dynamic group of activists from all over the country, who care about an array of causes, including Delaney Tarr, David Hogg, Chella Man, Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, and Gavin Grimm, and filmed them speaking about what issues will be most important when casting their votes next month.”

“The passion these activists share about their causes is contagious. All of them are between the ages of 18-20. None of them were eligible to vote in 2016. But now they can be heard, and all of them are passionate about voting,” the filmmaker added. “We hope their activism inspires Generation Z to get to the polls on November 6 and speak up for the issues that are important to all of us.”

Among those in the video are Parkland survivors David Hogg and Delaney Tarr, who’ve become well-known activists since 17 students and staff members of their school were gunned down in February; Ohitika Locke, who works to protect indigenous peoples’ land rights; and Chella Man, a deaf, transgender artist.

‘Wildlife,’ ‘The Bangle Seller’ in Competition at Mumbai Film Festival

Paul Dano’s directorial debut “Wildlife,” which has had considerable festival play including Sundance, Cannes and Toronto is among the titles in the international competition at the 20th Mumbai film festival. The festival runs Oct. 25 to Nov. 1, 2018. …

Paul Dano’s directorial debut “Wildlife,” which has had considerable festival play including Sundance, Cannes and Toronto is among the titles in the international competition at the 20th Mumbai film festival. The festival runs Oct. 25 to Nov. 1, 2018. U.S. director, Darren Aronofsky (“Black Swan”) will give a masterclass. Other international competition titles include deceased Chinese […]

‘Spheres’: Darren Aronofsky and Creator Eliza McNitt on ‘Making It Strange’ For Their Groundbreaking Virtual Reality Project

Exclusive: The filmmakers discuss McNitt’s groundbreaking Aronofsky-produced project as it makes history at Telluride.

Scientists believe the Big Bang was silent … and then came sound. Eliza McNitt’s three-part virtual reality project “Spheres,” the first to play at the Telluride Film Festival, uses the most current research as a starting point to imagine the music of the cosmos.

After debuting at Sundance earlier this year (where it became the first VR experience to be acquired in a seven-figure deal), “Spheres” will screen at Telluride in three parts, including “Pale Blue Dot” (narrated by Patti Smith), “Songs of Spacetime” (narrated by Jessica Chastain), and “Chorus of the Cosmos” (narrated by Millie Bobby Brown). The full program will screen, free of charge, at the Sheridan Opera House Gallery, this weekend.

McNitt recently spoke with filmmaker Darren Aronofsky, the project’s executive producer, about roller coasters, “spaghettification,” the cosmos, the future of VR, and much more. A shorter version of the interview (also attached) will run in The Film Watch, co-published by the Telluride Film Festival and Telluride newspapers. Check out IndieWire’s exclusive extended version below.

DARREN ARONOFSKY: How did this project start?

ELIZA MCNITT: Well, I had “Fistful of Stars,” which was a piece that I made that premiered at Prospect Park at the BAM show alongside the live space opera for 6,000 people. That was the piece that I made with Dr. Mario Livio from the Federal Estate Telescope Institute, and [it] told the story of the birth, life, and death of a star. On the day of the election, I quit my job and bought myself a ticket to Japan, left the country, and started to dream up this project. [laughs] There’s a whole other narrative that continues after a star dies. I wanted to unravel that tale of what happens next. The answer to that was “Black Hole.”

20180410_SPHERES_PBD_FullSequence_2D

“Spheres”

ARONOFSKY: What in Japan made you start to think about the project?

MCNITT: I was really fascinated by the idea of creating a larger story, because [“Fistful of Stars”] ends with the death of a star, and I realized that there’s a whole other narrative that continues after a star dies. It’s really only beginning of that story, and so I wanted to continue to unravel that tale of what happens next. The answer to that was “Black Hole.”

ARONOFSKY: You are a storyteller, a filmmaker, and we’ve discussed how virtual reality is a different medium. What attracted you to VR?

MCNITT: When I started “Fistful of Stars,” I was approached by a performing arts organization in Brooklyn to create an experience that would make people feel as if they were floating through the stars. But I had never encountered that experience until I tried virtual reality. It felt like the only way to truly transport you to the cosmos.

ARONOFSKY: Which piece of virtual reality gave you that feeling?

MCNITT: I saw a lot of bad VR. My very first experience, in 2013, at the Imagine Science Film Festival, was an experience on a rollercoaster. I was completely disembodied, and I almost fell over and experienced nausea. It was awful. But there was something about it. I just couldn’t stop thinking about that feeling of how I had been made so uncomfortable by this technology.

ARONOFSKY: Why is “Spheres” in three parts?

MCNITT: Believe it or not, Darren, it was supposed to be five parts. [laughs]

ARONOFSKY: You have the ambition of George Lucas.

MCNITT: [laughs] The story I wanted to tell was one of understanding our place in the universe and the search for the music of the cosmos. The story had to begin and end at Earth and be transportive, taking you far beyond to worlds we’ve never experienced before. I was inspired by this age-long theory of music of the spheres — that celestial bodies must make music. These past few years, with the discovery of gravitational waves, we understood that there is a possibility to that hypothesis. Space-time does sing.

ARONOFSKY: What pops into your head when I say, science and story?

MCNITT: Science is a form of storytelling. Instead of a narrative with a beginning, a middle, and an end, you have a hypothesis, a process, and a conclusion.

ARONOFSKY: The most famous scientists are the best storytellers — Carl Sagan and Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking all turn big ideas into stories so we can grasp and hold on to them. So, what will you do next?

MCNITT: I’m going to make a movie.

“Spheres”

ARONOFSKY: Oh, really? That ancient form from the 20th century? Maybe you should work in calligraphy or early silk printing. Radio! I hear there’s a future in radio.

MCNITT: Yes. [laughs] That ancient form from the 20th century that I’ve seen you do quite well. Virtual reality is a captivating and very fascinating storytelling form, but I think that it is going to be another five to ten years before the world really catches on and the technology has fully developed. I have always been deeply fascinated by the process. I’ve always been a great admirer of cinema, from Stanley Kubrick to François Truffaut to David Lynch to yourself.

ARONOFSKY: There are many things in “Spheres” that have not been witnessed visually or detected scientifically. How do you use your imagination to bring to life and represent experiences that for many are unimaginable?

MCNITT: That’s been one of the greatest challenges. How do you visualize the interior of a black hole? How do we track the explosion of the big bang? How do we listen to Saturn’s rings? We worked very closely with scientists at Columbia University to help us to visualize what it might be like if you were to fall inside of a black hole. There are no visual references for the interior of a black hole. I can’t just go to NASA’s website and find an image that shows you what it’s like.

I found it truly fascinating that there is research about what it’s like. When a star is sucked into a black hole, it starts being the color red and then stretches and distorts as it passes the event horizon. Then when it goes inside of a black hole it “spaghettifies” — which is a scientific term I have discovered — into millions of pieces as it’s ripped apart and falls towards a singularity. That’s a blast of white light where space and time cease to exist. After the scientists described these really intriguing details they turned to me and said, “Just make it strange.”

ARONOFSKY: Interesting. “Make it strange.” [laughs]

MCNITT: “Just make it strange.”

The Evolution of Mila Kunis, From ‘That ’70s Show’ to ‘The Spy Who Dumped Me’ (Photos)

At age 10, Ukraine-born Mila Kunis landed a small role in the 1995 short movie “Make a Wish, Molly” about a Russian Jewish girl newly arrived in the U.S.
Kunis also played small parts in mid-’90s TV shows like “Baywatch.”

At age 10, Ukraine-born Mila Kunis landed a small role in the 1995 short movie “Make a Wish, Molly” about a Russian Jewish girl newly arrived in the U.S.

Kunis also played small parts in mid-’90s TV shows like “Baywatch.”

She had a recurring role as Ashley in the WB family series “Seventh Heaven” in 1996-97.

Kunis played the 11-year-old version of Angelina Jolie‘s character in the acclaimed 1998 HBO movie “Gia,” a biopic of ’70s model Gia Carangi that won Jolie and Faye Dunaway Golden Globes.

Mila Kunis married her former “That ’70s Show” co-star Ashton Kutcher in July 2015, months after she gave birth to their daughter, Wyatt. (Here they’re seen promoting NBC’s Red Nose Day charity telecast in May 2016.)

At 14, she fibbed about her age and landed her breakout role as the initially spoiled rich girl Jackie Burkhart in the hit Fox sitcom “That ’70s Show.”

In 1999, Kunis replaced Lacey Chabert as the voice of awkward teenager Meg Griffin on Seth MacFarlane‘s animated sitcom “Family Guy.”

Mila Kunis tried to make a leap to the big screen opposite Kirsten Dunst in the 2001 high school rom-com “Get Over It.”

In 2002, Kunis began dating former “Home Alone” star Macaulay Culkin (seen here at a 2005 benefit for victims of Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita). The couple officially announced their split in 2011.

Kunis (seen here with her co-star and future husband Aston Kutcher at a 2004 press event) stayed with “That ’70s Show” for all eight seasons until it wrapped in 2006.

Kunis proved a romantic charmer as a Hawaiian resort worker who connects with Jason Segel‘s recently dumped hero in the 2008 rom-com “Forgetting Sarah Marshall.”

In 2009, Kunis popped up at Spike’s Guys Choice Awards to claim the award for “Hottest Mila.”

In 2010, she tried her hand at action in the Denzel Washington postapocalyptic thriller “The Book of Eli.”

Mila Kunis had a high-profile and widely acclaimed role opposite Natalie Portman as an ambitious ballet dancer in Darren Aronofsky‘s acclaimed drama “Black Swan.”

 

In 2016, she re-teamed with “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” co-star Kristen Bell — as well as Kathryn Hahn — in the R-rated suburban comedy “Bad Moms.”

 

Darren Aronofsky’s ‘One Strange Rock’ Renewed for Season 2 at Nat Geo

Nat Geo has picked up a second season of “One Strange Rock” from Darren Aronofsky and Jane Root, the network announced on Wednesday.

It is currently unclear if Will Smith will return as host for the second season.

The documentary series is the extraordinary story of Earth as told through the unique perspective and personal memoirs of an elite group of astronauts who have seen the planet from space. Season 2 is scheduled to begin filming in February 2019.

Also Read: Nat Geo Wild Slate Includes New Fishing Show, Plus Here’s a Puma Video for ‘Big Cat Week’ (Exclusive)

The first 10-episode season of “One Strange Rock” premiered in March and became the network’s fourth most watched series globally, with 81 million viewers.

Root, Peter Lovering and Arif Nurmohamed serve as executive producers for Nutopia. For Protozoa Pictures, executive producers are Aronofsky, Ari Handel and Scott Franklin. Matt Renner executive produces for National Geograpic.

“The tremendous success of ‘One Strange Rock’ is a testament to the power of innovative storytelling and an exceptional creative team. With the creative vision of Darren Aronofsky and the expertise of Jane Root and Nutopia, ‘One Strange Rock’ stretches the traditional boundaries of science and natural history programming,” said National Geographic Global Networks CEO Courteney Monroe. “It takes viewers on a breathtaking visual adventure that not only entertains, but also amazes and surprises.”

Also Read: Nat Geo Wild Just Made ‘SharkFest’ Twice as Long as Discovery’s ‘Shark Week’ (Exclusive)

“With National Geographic and the wealth of talent and experience of Jane and Nutopia, we took on this ambitious project to give audiences a new perspective on our living planet,” said Aronofsky. “There was so much more we wanted to cover in the first season and couldn’t. I’m grateful we now have the opportunity to bring more of the beauty and wonder of our planet to the screen.”

“There’s just so much more to tell, and to be able to continue the epic story of ‘One Strange Rock’ is incredibly thrilling,” said Root. “We set out to make science and the world relevant to viewers, and with the creative talents of Darren and his team, we did just that — in this epic and visually stunning journey.”

The Hollywood Reporter was first to report news of the renewal.

More to come…

Related stories from TheWrap:

Darren Aronofsky Says Science Series ‘One Strange Rock’ Is the Flip Side of ‘Mother!’

Darren Aronofsky Thinks Millennials Will Get High and Watch ‘One Strange Rock’

Will Smith to Host Nat Geo’s Earth-Exploration Show ‘One Strange Rock’

Nat Geo has picked up a second season of “One Strange Rock” from Darren Aronofsky and Jane Root, the network announced on Wednesday.

It is currently unclear if Will Smith will return as host for the second season.

The documentary series is the extraordinary story of Earth as told through the unique perspective and personal memoirs of an elite group of astronauts who have seen the planet from space. Season 2 is scheduled to begin filming in February 2019.

The first 10-episode season of “One Strange Rock” premiered in March and became the network’s fourth most watched series globally, with 81 million viewers.

Root, Peter Lovering and Arif Nurmohamed serve as executive producers for Nutopia. For Protozoa Pictures, executive producers are Aronofsky, Ari Handel and Scott Franklin. Matt Renner executive produces for National Geograpic.

“The tremendous success of ‘One Strange Rock’ is a testament to the power of innovative storytelling and an exceptional creative team. With the creative vision of Darren Aronofsky and the expertise of Jane Root and Nutopia, ‘One Strange Rock’ stretches the traditional boundaries of science and natural history programming,” said National Geographic Global Networks CEO Courteney Monroe. “It takes viewers on a breathtaking visual adventure that not only entertains, but also amazes and surprises.”

“With National Geographic and the wealth of talent and experience of Jane and Nutopia, we took on this ambitious project to give audiences a new perspective on our living planet,” said Aronofsky. “There was so much more we wanted to cover in the first season and couldn’t. I’m grateful we now have the opportunity to bring more of the beauty and wonder of our planet to the screen.”

“There’s just so much more to tell, and to be able to continue the epic story of ‘One Strange Rock’ is incredibly thrilling,” said Root. “We set out to make science and the world relevant to viewers, and with the creative talents of Darren and his team, we did just that — in this epic and visually stunning journey.”

The Hollywood Reporter was first to report news of the renewal.

More to come…

Related stories from TheWrap:

Darren Aronofsky Says Science Series 'One Strange Rock' Is the Flip Side of 'Mother!'

Darren Aronofsky Thinks Millennials Will Get High and Watch 'One Strange Rock'

Will Smith to Host Nat Geo's Earth-Exploration Show 'One Strange Rock'

Anthony Bourdain Performed Bhutan Death Ritual for Final ‘Parts Unknown’ Episode

Before his death, Anthony Bourdain discussed the meaning of life and performed an ancient “death ritual” with director Darren Aronofsky while filming the finale of “Parts Unknown.”

The episode, which aired on CNN Sunday, tracked Bourdain and the “Black Swan” director during a journey through Bhutan in South Asia. The renowned chef, also a Buddhist, touched on the country’s relationship with death in one scene, where a man tells Bourdain Buddhism implores its followers “not to take things too seriously. This is, in fact, an illusion.”

“Life is but a dream,” responded Bourdain.

Also Read: Suicide Prevention Calls Increase After Kate Spade, Anthony Bourdain Deaths

“It is considered enlightening and therapeutic to think about death for a few minutes a day,” he added, while narrating a shot overlooking a Bhutanese mountain range.

Aronofsky, writing about his friend for CNN, said a “death ritual” scene filmed for the episode was “ironic,”  even considering it was shot six months before Bourdain’s suicide.

“It seems ironic now that on our last day of shooting we performed a Bhutanese death ritual,” said Aronofsky. “We debated the fate of the country, the fate of the world. He was perplexed as to how mankind’s endless hunger to consume could be curtailed. ‘Don’t we all want flat screen TV’s?’ he asked.”

Also Read: Chef Eric Ripert After Finding Anthony Bourdain’s Body: ‘I Pray He Is at Peace’

The finale followed Bourdain and the “Black Swan” director as they mingled with goat herders and ate in Thimphu, the country’s capital. Aronofsky — who told CNN he first met Bourdain by direct messaging on Twitter in 2014 — said the journey helped solidify their friendship.

“Bhutan was where I really got to know Tony,” said Aronofsky. “There, I became aware of his utter lack of vanity. He never adjusted his hair or gave a damn about makeup or a lighting setup.”

The prominent host and chef’s death at the age of 61 rocked millions of fans earlier this month. Bourdain’s body was found in  in a hotel room in a Strasbourg, France, where he was shooting an episode for “Parts Unknown,” now in its 11th season.

“His death is incomprehensible. I don’t know how to process him being gone,” Aronofsky wrote of the late author and TV host.

Also Read: Anthony Bourdain’s Last Completed ‘Parts Unknown’ Episodes to Air This Month, CNN Says

CNN anchor Don Lemon paid homage to Bourdain before the season finale on Sunday: “Anthony Bourdain was our window to the far-flung places of our planet, but he had a way of making what was so foreign seem so familiar by the time he was done weaving his words around the story.”

Related stories from TheWrap:

Anthony Bourdain Did Not Have Drugs in System at Time of Death, French Official Says

Anthony Bourdain’s Last Completed ‘Parts Unknown’ Episodes to Air This Month, CNN Says

Netflix Extends Deal to Stream ‘Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown’

Before his death, Anthony Bourdain discussed the meaning of life and performed an ancient “death ritual” with director Darren Aronofsky while filming the finale of “Parts Unknown.”

The episode, which aired on CNN Sunday, tracked Bourdain and the “Black Swan” director during a journey through Bhutan in South Asia. The renowned chef, also a Buddhist, touched on the country’s relationship with death in one scene, where a man tells Bourdain Buddhism implores its followers “not to take things too seriously. This is, in fact, an illusion.”

“Life is but a dream,” responded Bourdain.

“It is considered enlightening and therapeutic to think about death for a few minutes a day,” he added, while narrating a shot overlooking a Bhutanese mountain range.

Aronofsky, writing about his friend for CNN, said a “death ritual” scene filmed for the episode was “ironic,”  even considering it was shot six months before Bourdain’s suicide.

“It seems ironic now that on our last day of shooting we performed a Bhutanese death ritual,” said Aronofsky. “We debated the fate of the country, the fate of the world. He was perplexed as to how mankind’s endless hunger to consume could be curtailed. ‘Don’t we all want flat screen TV’s?’ he asked.”

The finale followed Bourdain and the “Black Swan” director as they mingled with goat herders and ate in Thimphu, the country’s capital. Aronofsky — who told CNN he first met Bourdain by direct messaging on Twitter in 2014 — said the journey helped solidify their friendship.

“Bhutan was where I really got to know Tony,” said Aronofsky. “There, I became aware of his utter lack of vanity. He never adjusted his hair or gave a damn about makeup or a lighting setup.”

The prominent host and chef’s death at the age of 61 rocked millions of fans earlier this month. Bourdain’s body was found in  in a hotel room in a Strasbourg, France, where he was shooting an episode for “Parts Unknown,” now in its 11th season.

“His death is incomprehensible. I don’t know how to process him being gone,” Aronofsky wrote of the late author and TV host.

CNN anchor Don Lemon paid homage to Bourdain before the season finale on Sunday: “Anthony Bourdain was our window to the far-flung places of our planet, but he had a way of making what was so foreign seem so familiar by the time he was done weaving his words around the story.”

Related stories from TheWrap:

Anthony Bourdain Did Not Have Drugs in System at Time of Death, French Official Says

Anthony Bourdain's Last Completed 'Parts Unknown' Episodes to Air This Month, CNN Says

Netflix Extends Deal to Stream 'Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown'

Anthony Bourdain’s Season-Finale Episode of ‘Parts Unknown’ is Heartbreaking

Bourdain travels to Bhutan with Darren Aronofsky and gets deep in the first episode to air after his tragic suicide.

Even if it wasn’t airing two weeks after Anthony Bourdain’s suicide, the season finale of CNN’s “Parts Unknown” would contain a whiff of sadness. While it remains unclear how the network will proceed with the footage shot for Season 12, the Bhutan-set finale of Season 11 feels like a farewell — wistful, sensitive, and rich with existential yearning, it encapsulates Bourdain’s underlying ethos while burrowing into a sense of isolation from the rest of the world.

Bourdain excelled at finding wonderful travel partners who shared his romantic passions — “Hong Kong,” the episode that aired just before his death, found him arm-in-arm with manic cinematographer Christopher Doyle — and “Bhutan” is no exception. Bourdain travels to the mountains of Himalayas with Darren Aronofsky, a close pal and an environmentalism hip to the Buddhist mentality that surrounds them. As a vegetarian, he’s also one of the few picky eaters to crop up on Bourdain’s journey, though the pair find plenty of cuisine to celebrate together while musing on big ideas — the decline of rural life in the 21st century, the fate of the natural world, empathy for other species. As usual, the food is just an excuse to go deep.

Set to gentle acoustic rhythms and a constant montage of village lives, the episode flows with a meditative quality on par with its setting, while positioning these two white guys as the ultimate contrast to a culture defined by tranquility. Sipping the traditional Bhutanese welcome drink ara, Bourdain and Aronofsky sit with environmentalist Benji Dormi as they discuss the contrast between their cultures’ relationships to happiness. Bhutanese government operates under a philosophical principle known as Gross National Happiness, and Dormi tries to compare it to the “pursuit of happiness” in the American constitution. Bourdain lets loose with a naughty grin. “We don’t actually believe that,” he says, as Aronofsky chuckles. It’s a definitive moment for the television host, whose acerbic personality was always a fascinating blend of cynicism and the sincere desire to find a better path forward.

But yes, there are also delicious shots of food: From the jarring spiciness of dumplings in a ramshackle village to the peculiar joys of yak cheese, Bourdain and Aronofsky find themselves exploring a welcome contrast to Western cooking while talking through their different ways of seeing the world. No matter what’s on the table, the focus always reverts back to other topics. Early on, Aronofsky asks Bourdain (who was never keen on the idea of vegetarianism) if he believes animals suffer. “Pain is pain,” Bourdain answers. “If you don’t respond to that, there’s something seriously wrong with you.” That line takes on devastating connotations in the wake of Bourdain’s ultimate fate, but also proves his capacity to consider views that challenge his own.

Unlike some of the more raucous “Parts Unknown” episodes, beyond a thrilling landing at the nation’s narrow airport, “Bhutan” retains a soothing, introspective quality quite unlike much of Bourdain’s work. At the same time, it’s not devoid of his usual caustic insights and sensibilities. He talks about the “unjustifiably horrid” reaction to Aronofsky’s “mother!”, which Bourdain considers a masterpiece and calls “an angry and thinly veiled warning that we are destroying our planet.” Together, they wander through an outdoor market where they come across a range of wooden penises, forcing them to acknowledge the country’s century-spanning phallic obsession. It’s a welcome bit of levity, watching the men pick out their favorite painted organs, and recognizing that on some level no poker face could hide the potty humor confronting them.

“Parts Unknown”

The episode maintains a tight grasp of its modulating tone. At one point, the pair get drunk, and almost lose their grasp on reality. They’re on the dark side of the mountain where no buildings are built, and on the other side lies nothing but trees, dirt, and rocks. Glancing out the window of a car and gazing into profound darkness, they contemplate the void beyond their reach. It’s eerie and magical. A puff of a cloud drifts through the air as Bourdain reflects on Buddhist conceits in a voiceover that begs for a biographical reading: “It is considered therapeutic,” he says, “to think about death a few times a day.”

Yet for all that happened next, “Bhutan” leaves you with the strange and altogether wondrous perception that Bourdain wanted this finale to soothe his grieving viewers, by encouraging them to move on. In the final moments, as a solemn Bhutanese rap song plays on the soundtrack, Aronofsky and Bourdain sit by a small stream next to a stack of small golden trinkets. Bourdain turns one over in his hands. “You’re supposed to put them somewhere where they’ll last a while, and make a prayer,” Aronofsky says. They do, but the episode ends without providing the specifics. In this masterstroke of a climax, “Parts Unknown” leaves us wondering if it’s even within our right to know.

“Bhutan,” the Season 11 finale of “Parts Unknown,” airs on CNN on Sunday at 9 p.m.

Darren Aronofsky Says Science Series ‘One Strange Rock’ Is the Flip Side of ‘Mother!’

This story about “One Strange Rock” first appeared in the Miniseries/Movies issue of TheWrap’s Emmy magazine.

On the surface, a mad and violent fever dream starring Jennifer Lawrence doesn’t have much in common with a 10-part science documentary from National Geographic — but the 2017 movie “mother!” and the NatGeo series “One Strange Rock” both preach the importance of taking care of the Earth, and both are from the imagination of producer and director Darren Aronofsky.

“It’s kind of funny that they came out within a year of each other,” said the New York-based filmmaker, who directed “mother!” and executive produced “One Strange Rock.”

“They’re both dealing with the same thing but from completely opposite ways — one’s a cautionary tale and one’s a celebration of our home. Personally, I like that they came out so close together.”

Also Read: Darren Aronofsky Thinks Millennials Will Get High and Watch ‘One Strange Rock’

Aronofsky began working on “One Strange Rock” three years ago, when it was brought to his attention by former Fox Searchlight exec Peter Rice. The idea was an enormous one: In 10 one-hour episodes, showcase our planet in all its complexity.

“It was an incredibly overwhelming project in its scope and ambition, to try to combine all the sciences to create a portrait of our communal home,” Aronofsky said. “Since Buckminster Fuller, there’s been this concept of Spaceship Earth: We’re all on a spaceship together, on this pale blue dot floating in this empty void, and all the systems are connected.”

A key, he said, was to use eight astronauts as the series’ guides to the planet. “There are only about 500 people who’ve been able to leave the atmosphere and look back down on the Earth,” he said, “and all of them that I’ve talked to have the same experience: They stop thinking they’re from Iowa or the United States and start thinking they’re earthlings.”

Also Read: ‘mother!’ Review: Jennifer Lawrence Horror Flick in All Its Glorious Insanity

Narrated by Will Smith, each episode tackles a different aspect of the planet, from the production of oxygen to the development of the human brain. “I feel like doing all the different sciences — astronomy, geology, biology, chemistry, anthropology — is almost like going to the table of contents in an issue of National Geographic, which has four or five stories and each story is so vibrant,” said Aronofsky, who was a huge fan of the magazine growing up in Brooklyn.

“That’s why for all of our subtitles and logos, I asked them to stick with that same yellow that’s in the National Geographic logo. It was a homage to National Geographic because it was such a significant part of my childhood.”

The director said he enjoyed the experience of working on his first nonfiction project, but mostly loved that it gave him another chance to tell stories related to his passion for the environment.

“I feel like science continues to be under attack,” he said. “It’s being politicized, and yet we live and die by science in so many ways. Putting it out there that science is great, science is cool, science is exciting, is really a part of my mission.”

Read more of TheWrap’s Miniseries/Movies Emmy issue here.

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This story about “One Strange Rock” first appeared in the Miniseries/Movies issue of TheWrap’s Emmy magazine.

On the surface, a mad and violent fever dream starring Jennifer Lawrence doesn’t have much in common with a 10-part science documentary from National Geographic — but the 2017 movie “mother!” and the NatGeo series “One Strange Rock” both preach the importance of taking care of the Earth, and both are from the imagination of producer and director Darren Aronofsky.

“It’s kind of funny that they came out within a year of each other,” said the New York-based filmmaker, who directed “mother!” and executive produced “One Strange Rock.”

“They’re both dealing with the same thing but from completely opposite ways — one’s a cautionary tale and one’s a celebration of our home. Personally, I like that they came out so close together.”

Aronofsky began working on “One Strange Rock” three years ago, when it was brought to his attention by former Fox Searchlight exec Peter Rice. The idea was an enormous one: In 10 one-hour episodes, showcase our planet in all its complexity.

“It was an incredibly overwhelming project in its scope and ambition, to try to combine all the sciences to create a portrait of our communal home,” Aronofsky said. “Since Buckminster Fuller, there’s been this concept of Spaceship Earth: We’re all on a spaceship together, on this pale blue dot floating in this empty void, and all the systems are connected.”

A key, he said, was to use eight astronauts as the series’ guides to the planet. “There are only about 500 people who’ve been able to leave the atmosphere and look back down on the Earth,” he said, “and all of them that I’ve talked to have the same experience: They stop thinking they’re from Iowa or the United States and start thinking they’re earthlings.”

Narrated by Will Smith, each episode tackles a different aspect of the planet, from the production of oxygen to the development of the human brain. “I feel like doing all the different sciences — astronomy, geology, biology, chemistry, anthropology — is almost like going to the table of contents in an issue of National Geographic, which has four or five stories and each story is so vibrant,” said Aronofsky, who was a huge fan of the magazine growing up in Brooklyn.

“That’s why for all of our subtitles and logos, I asked them to stick with that same yellow that’s in the National Geographic logo. It was a homage to National Geographic because it was such a significant part of my childhood.”

The director said he enjoyed the experience of working on his first nonfiction project, but mostly loved that it gave him another chance to tell stories related to his passion for the environment.

“I feel like science continues to be under attack,” he said. “It’s being politicized, and yet we live and die by science in so many ways. Putting it out there that science is great, science is cool, science is exciting, is really a part of my mission.”

Read more of TheWrap’s Miniseries/Movies Emmy issue here.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Darren Aronofsky's VR Series 'Spheres' Lands Record Sundance Deal

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Darren Aronofsky’s ‘One Strange Rock’: Capturing Beauty and Wonder

Cinematographer Simon de Glanville shot monarch butterflies in Mexico, a water fight in Varanasi, and a rocket launch in Kazakhstan as part of the interconnected wonders of Mother Earth.

For National Geographic’s 10-part “One Strange Rock” series, executive producer Darren Aronofsky sought to convey the interconnected story of life and survival on Mother Earth, told from the unique, long distance perspectives of eight astronauts. A mash-up, if you will, of astronomy, anthropology, biology, physics, chemistry, and sociology that travels from the macro to the micro — as well as Aronofsky’s eclectic interests.

But for Simon de Glanville, the Emmy-nominated British natural history and documentary cinematographer (“Forces of Nature with Brian Cox”), it was a varied journey of beauty and wonder as visual metaphors for larger, cosmic statements. “Above and beyond the smaller details, there was a desire to shoot actuality stories about real people having real conversations in real places,” he said.

Read More: Darren Aronofsky Views ‘One Strange Rock’ as a Companion Piece to ‘mother!’, Because Maybe There’s Hope for the World Yet

The intention was to shoot as cinematically as possible (with the Red Dragon or Phantom cameras), using fixed focus, prime lenses, mostly in straight lines with stabilizing equipment. And in typical Aronofsky fashion, the visual pattern consisted of going wide and small, with lots of rotations (assisted by drones for the widest perspectives).

For the first shoot of the series, de Glanville filmed an Italian marble quarry. It was a simple sequence, following the captain of the quarry team as he controlled the digging equipment, using hand signals like a conductor. “It’s like these machines are forming a ballet, doing his bidding,” he said. “You can make the quarry itself look beautiful because it’s all these bright, white surfaces that are exposed out of the mountain.”

“One Strange Rock”

“It produces a really beautiful quality of light as it’s reflected back all over the people and everything else,” de Glanville added. “And they’re cutting all this rock, which produces the finest dust that you can imagine. While you’re filming, it’s sublime, but the technical challenges are pretty miserable.”

For a water fight in Varanasi, India, De Glanville deployed the Phantom to create a visual metaphor for the heavy bombardment of water that was delivered on Earth as a result of crashing asteroids and comets. “There were children having a water fight on the streets of Veranasi,” he said. “There was one team of kids with water pistols and another team with water bombs chasing each other. The point of the exercise was for the moment when you see these water bombs hitting these dusty paving stones on the streets of Varanasi in super slow motion.”

However, shooting a rocket launch in Kazakhstan in the middle of the night was a lot more stressful. This was was a new experience for de Glanville and he had one chance to get it right. “We took around seven cameras to cover the launch in various ways,” he said. “And one in a glass booth box that we managed to get permission to put on the tarmac about 100 yards from the rocket.”

“One Strange Rock”

The biggest technical challenge, he said, “was to make that camera in the box work for that whole 24-hour period and then when the launch was happening. The rest of the cameras were 800 meters away, so we shot on long lenses and had cameras on wide lenses positioned all over the place.”

At the same time, de Glanville captured the juxtaposition of the buildings surrounding them: remnants of the former Soviet space program. “When it takes off at 2:00 in the morning, it was so bright that it was like the sun rising,” the cinematographer said. “The big challenge was trying to expose for it because you don’t know how bright it’s gonna be. I was able to track down a NASA photographer and look at some of his photographs from a previous launch. I was able to calculate the exposure to dial in to our cameras to get it right.”

“One Strange Rock”

The most poetic moment for de Glanville was shooting the monarch butterflies that migrated back to Mexico during The Day of the Dead festival. “Everyone’s dressed as skeletons and wearing Victorian finery and it’s quite an extraordinary environment,” he said. “We used it as a backdrop for the journey of the butterfly that passes through on its way to the factory. The monarch butterfly is quite an important motif. People believed they were the returning souls of their loved ones.”

It was one of the few times, though, that de Glanville resorted to hand-held in chasing after the butterflies. “You get a good five seconds of a butterfly flying down the streets, and that’s as low-fi as you can get,” he said.

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‘Rock’ Stars: Darren Aronofsky, Will Smith & Jane Root Join Forces On Emmy-Contending Doc Series On Planet Earth

One Strange Rock may qualify as one of the most ambitious documentary series ever brought to television. Its purpose, after all, is to tell nothing less than “the story of Earth.”
“It’s not a show just about animals. It’s not a show just about people,”…

One Strange Rock may qualify as one of the most ambitious documentary series ever brought to television. Its purpose, after all, is to tell nothing less than "the story of Earth." "It's not a show just about animals. It's not a show just about people," executive producer Darren Aronofsky told Deadline. "It's a show about biology, astronomy, chemistry, physics, earth science, all kind of blended together to tell this one story about this place we call home." The 10-part…

‘Black Panther’ Cinematographer Rachel Morrison to Be Honored by AFI

Rachel Morrison, cinematographer on films like “Black Panther” and “Mudbound,” will receive the 2018 Franklin J. Schaffner Alumni medal from the American Film Institute.

Morrison made history this year as the first woman ever nominated for the Academy Award for Best Cinematography for her work in “Mudbound.” She was also the first woman to shoot a Marvel Cinematic Universe film with “Black Panther.”

Her other credits include “Fruitvale Station,” “Cake,” “Dope,” “What Happened, Miss Simone?” and “Confirmation.”

Also Read: ‘Black Panther’ Cinematographer Rachel Morrison on Hollywood’s Lame ‘Excuse’ for Not Hiring Women

Morrison, a member of the American Society of Cinematographers, has won a New York Film Critics Circle Award; she has also been nominated for a Primetime Emmy and an ACD Award.

The Franklin J. Schaffner Alumni Medal honors creative talents who embody the qualities of the filmmaker, who earned a total of 28 Academy Award nominations and an Oscar for Best Director for “Patton” in 1970.

Also Read: Oscars Nominate First Female Cinematographer: Rachel Morrison for ‘Mudbound’

Previous recipients include Patty Jenkins, Darren Aronofsky, Terrence Malick, Amy Heckerling, Anne Garefino, Steven Rosenblum, Todd Field and most recently, Frederick Elmes.

The presentation is set to take place at the AFI Life Achievement Award Tribute to George Clooney in Hollywood, California on June 7.

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Rachel Morrison, cinematographer on films like “Black Panther” and “Mudbound,” will receive the 2018 Franklin J. Schaffner Alumni medal from the American Film Institute.

Morrison made history this year as the first woman ever nominated for the Academy Award for Best Cinematography for her work in “Mudbound.” She was also the first woman to shoot a Marvel Cinematic Universe film with “Black Panther.”

Her other credits include “Fruitvale Station,” “Cake,” “Dope,” “What Happened, Miss Simone?” and “Confirmation.”

Morrison, a member of the American Society of Cinematographers, has won a New York Film Critics Circle Award; she has also been nominated for a Primetime Emmy and an ACD Award.

The Franklin J. Schaffner Alumni Medal honors creative talents who embody the qualities of the filmmaker, who earned a total of 28 Academy Award nominations and an Oscar for Best Director for “Patton” in 1970.

Previous recipients include Patty Jenkins, Darren Aronofsky, Terrence Malick, Amy Heckerling, Anne Garefino, Steven Rosenblum, Todd Field and most recently, Frederick Elmes.

The presentation is set to take place at the AFI Life Achievement Award Tribute to George Clooney in Hollywood, California on June 7.

Related stories from TheWrap:

'Wonder Woman,' 'The Crown,' 'Stranger Things' Among AFI's Best Film and TV of 2017

George Clooney to Receive AFI Lifetime Achievement Award

Patti Smith Narrates Darren Aronofsky’s VR Experience ‘Spheres: Pale Blue Dot’

American singer/songwriter Patti Smith narrated an episode of Darren Aronofsky’s virtual reality experience Spheres.
The three-part series, which is directed by Eliza McNitt, made headlines earlier this year when the VR financing and distribution venture CityLights announced it would acquire Spheres in a seven-figure deal. That represented a milestone for the emerging medium, which had never sold at a major festival.
Jessica Chastain narrated the first installment, Spheres…

American singer/songwriter Patti Smith narrated an episode of Darren Aronofsky’s virtual reality experience Spheres. The three-part series, which is directed by Eliza McNitt, made headlines earlier this year when the VR financing and distribution venture CityLights announced it would acquire Spheres in a seven-figure deal. That represented a milestone for the emerging medium, which had never sold at a major festival. Jessica Chastain narrated the first installment, Spheres…

Darren Aronofsky Promises ‘One Strange Rock’ Will Blow Your Mind – The Contenders Emmys

Darren Aronofsky signed on to the docuseries One Strange Rock to give viewers a glimpse of planet Earth like they’ve never seen before.
The ten-part National Geographic series, which is produced by Aronofsky and hosted by Will Smith, tells the story of Earth and explores the fragility of Earth and explores how everyone on the planet has something in common, with the help of astronauts who have traveled to outer space.
“I’ve always loved these kinds of portraits of our…

Darren Aronofsky signed on to the docuseries One Strange Rock to give viewers a glimpse of planet Earth like they've never seen before. The ten-part National Geographic series, which is produced by Aronofsky and hosted by Will Smith, tells the story of Earth and explores the fragility of Earth and explores how everyone on the planet has something in common, with the help of astronauts who have traveled to outer space. "I've always loved these kinds of portraits of our…

Sony Pictures Pushes Matthew McConaughey’s ‘White Boy Rick’ Back a Month

Sony Pictures’ “White Boy Rick,” starring Matthew McConaughey, Richie Merritt, Bel Powley, and Jennifer Jason Leigh, will now be released wide Sept. 21, a month after its original release date of Aug. 17. The movie will also get a limited release on Sept. 14. This marks the second time “White Boy Rick” was delayed; it […]

Sony Pictures’ “White Boy Rick,” starring Matthew McConaughey, Richie Merritt, Bel Powley, and Jennifer Jason Leigh, will now be released wide Sept. 21, a month after its original release date of Aug. 17. The movie will also get a limited release on Sept. 14. This marks the second time “White Boy Rick” was delayed; it […]

Darren Aronofsky Views ‘One Strange Rock’ as a Companion Piece to ‘mother!’, Because Maybe There’s Hope for the World Yet

The director made the new NatGeo documentary series about Earth, hosted by Will Smith, at the same time as his controversial drama.

At the same time that Darren Aronofsky was directing an allegory about the ruination of planet Earth, he was producing a TV show about how beautiful and miraculous our world can be.

“‘mother!’ was a very personal project about what’s going on, just trying to hold up a mirror to some of the things that are really out of control,” he told IndieWire at the Television Critics Association winter press tour about “One Strange Rock,” the new documentary series he executive produced for NatGeo. “This is just a very different approach on that very similar subject matter, since they’re both talking about our home. This is more talking about how beautiful our home is, how all the systems work together so beautifully to create this precious thing we call life.”

But the metaphor of “mother!,” which features Jennifer Lawrence’s “house” getting destroyed by the evil of man, still applies to “One Strange Rock,” according to him: “We need that plumbing, we need that electrical work, we need that cable, we need the roof, we need all those systems to be working. Admiring how they all work together is something that’s inspiring; that shows off how beautiful our home is.”

“One Strange Rock,” which premiered Monday, was executive produced by Aronofsky and his frequent collaborator Ari Handel, who co-wrote “The Fountain” and “Noah,” and worked with producer Jane Root to create 10 episodes about the weird little rock we live on.

VFX enhanced Earth view from the International Space Station. (credit: NASA)

Aronofsky and Handel met in college, the first week of their sophomore year at Harvard, and their friendship continued after graduation, when Aronofsky began pursuing a career in film and Handel moved onto receiving a Ph.D. in neuroscience.

“Ari would, to get away from academia, would sort of sit around with us and throw around ideas,” Aronofsky said. “And then I had this idea for ‘The Fountain’ was sort of brewing and I asked Ari if he would want to write it with me, because he was kind of getting over academia after he got his Ph.D.”

Aronofsky continued, “We would just walk around and talk and then it eventually grew into him becoming the president of Protozoa [Aronofsky’s production company] and now we’ve written a bunch of scripts together and produced a bunch of movies together. It’s been a long trip.”

Aronofsky and Handel were brought in by NatGeo to, in Aronofsky’s words, figure out how to make the concept for the series — an in-depth look at Earth as the miracle it can often be, blending many different scientific disciplines for a comprehensive look at our “strange rock” — work both on a visual level as well as a storytelling level.

“It was about trying to connect all of these different teams that were going around the planet with a kind of visual language,” Handel said. “So a manual was created of the types of shots we were looking for, so that all of the different directors and cinematographers that were scattered around the planet would try to make things that were related and connected because we always were about trying to connect how these different systems work.”

The filming on the series extended as far as space, thanks to astronaut Paolo Nespoli, who shot footage on the International Space Station for the show. “I kind of gave him a coaching session on how to photograph up there and how to make it as cinematic as possible,” Aronofsky said.

Another key element was the show’s host — the Fresh Prince himself, Will Smith, narrates the series directly to camera, and his “everyman-esque” quality, Aronofsky felt, helps communicate big ideas to the audience. “It’s about figuring out a way to make it more relatable to everyone who is watching,” he said.

Will Smith and Executive Producer Darren Aronofsky during production of "One Strange Rock". (National Geographic/Matt Frost)

The show’s genesis, he noted, came from not science but a human touch, based on the experiences of astronauts who have just returned from space. “Some people call it religious, some people call it spiritual, some people are just filled with awe. There’s terms for it but they all have this experience that connects all the different systems that they understand and scientific information that they understand and this one idea of this interconnectedness. And when they come back to Earth, they’re changed forever,” he said. “We wanted to try and relate that back to the audience — back to everyone watching the show. I think Will was able to kind of capture that energy and kind of relate it back.”

Right now, most documentaries about the current state of our planet have a dark undercurrent to them, thanks to the ever-increasing threat of climate change and other threats. But as mentioned above, the message of “One Strange Rock” is ultimately a hopeful one, which was a deliberate choice for the team, even while in a “mother!” state of mind.

“There’s a lot of work out there right now because of the times we’re in about how scary things are,” Aronofsky said. “We wanted to do something that was filled with hope but also that showed how precious it is, this planet. It was a different way of showing this story, the same story, it’s a very complicated system. We’re very, very blessed by all these things having worked out to allow us to be here to watch our favorite TV shows. And as soon as you look at those systems they’re incredibly miraculous and I think through an understanding of those systems, I think hopefully they will fill us with respect for them.”

Added Handel, “The more you understand how all this stuff works together, it’s awe-inspiring. It’s inspirational. It makes you filled with an admiration. And that feels like hope.”

“One Strange Rock” airs Mondays at 10 p.m. on NatGeo. 

‘One Strange Rock’ EPs on their ‘Wild’ Experience, Working with Will Smith

Filmmaker Darren Aronofsky knows more than a few things about creating big, bold, eye-catching images on-screen designed to heighten the emotional experience for a viewer. But he also knows that today’s audience often consumes their media on small screens, like their smartphones. So when he set out to executive produce his first project for television […]

Filmmaker Darren Aronofsky knows more than a few things about creating big, bold, eye-catching images on-screen designed to heighten the emotional experience for a viewer. But he also knows that today’s audience often consumes their media on small screens, like their smartphones. So when he set out to executive produce his first project for television […]

SXSW 2018: Darren Aronofsky Reveals the 10 Commandments of Indie Filmmaking, From ‘Adapt to Reality’ to ‘Give a Shit’

The “mother!” filmmaker just delivered his Keynote at the festival.

Like most filmmakers, Darren Aronofsky grumbles at the idea of people watching his work on increasingly small screens. “I spend a lot of time making the theatrical experience the ultimate experience,” the “mother!” writer/director said during his SXSW Keynote this morning. “You see mother! on your iPhone, it’s going to suck.” How you see the film was especially important this time around, Aronofsky noted, as “there’s no score in that movie, it’s all sound design … The sound is as important as the picture.”

Aronofsky marked his first appearance at South by Southwest with the 10 Commandments of Indie Filmmaking:

  1. Make the Film Only You Can Make
  2. Persistence Is 9/10 of the Game
  3. Work with Family
  4. Do Your Homework Before You Get to Set
  5. Adapt to Reality
  6. Don’t Be Afraid of Your Actors
  7. Don’t Forget About Your Audience
  8. Commit to the Vision
  9. Let Your Child Go
  10. Give a Shit

Number 8 proved especially difficult during “Noah,” he revealed, as the film proved controversial among evangelical Christians (“surprise, surprise,” Aronofsky said). Still, “every film I’ve done at this point is my movie. Every last cut I decided myself to do them. If anything, that’s what I’m most proud of, that I haven’t lost a film yet.”

That personal, fully committed approach can be seen onscreen as well. “I’m in every one of my films,” he said. “I’m the wrestler. I’m the ballet dancer. Both Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem’s character. I’m every character in every movie.”

As for giving a shit, it’s clear that Aronofsky is as tuned into the news as the rest of us. “Art is about disruption, especially today,” he said. “With all the shit going on, you have no excuse to make empty films,” and now, more than ever, young artists need to turn their attention to “human love, not human violence.” To those up-and-coming filmmakers, he had a piece of advice: “Never stick a gun in a movie star’s hands. Never stick a gun in anyone’s hands, if you can help it.”

Aronofsky also got explicit about the meaning of “mother!,” which baffled many. “I wanted to make a film about Mother Earth and how we treat Mother Earth,” he said. “The way I see we treat Mother Earth is incredibly disrespectful. We pillage her, we rape her, we call her dirt.”

If Jennifer Lawrence was playing Mother Earth, then Javier Bardem was playing God — and not the forgiving version. “I looked at the Bible and how the Old Testament God is painted,” Aronofsky said. “When you think about that God, if you don’t pray to him, he kills you. What type of character does that? For me, it was about interpreting that to human emotion.”

Despite his clear interest in the Bible and the title of his Keynote, Aronofsky is nothing if not self-aware: “With all humility,” he said, “I’m a hack writer compared to the guy who wrote the Bible.”

Darren Aronofsky Reveals True Meaning of ‘Mother!’ at SXSW Talk

So what was “Mother!” really about? In a keynote address at SXSW on Saturday morning, director Darren Aronofsky offered his take on his recent drama starring Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem that divided audiences. “I wanted to make a film about Mother Earth and how we treat Mother Earth,” Aronofsky said about Lawrence’s character, a […]

So what was “Mother!” really about? In a keynote address at SXSW on Saturday morning, director Darren Aronofsky offered his take on his recent drama starring Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem that divided audiences. “I wanted to make a film about Mother Earth and how we treat Mother Earth,” Aronofsky said about Lawrence’s character, a […]

Darren Aronofsky Addresses The “Very Extreme” Reactions To ‘Mother!’ – SXSW

Director Darren Aronofsky talked about the “very extreme” reactions to his latest film, Mother!, which the New Yorker described as the cinematic version of an equine root canal.
After delivering the 10 Commandments of Independent Filmmaking at a capacity-crowd at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, Aronofsky was asked to address the central theme of Mother. The director said that as with his earlier film, The Fountain, he intended for people draw their own…

Director Darren Aronofsky talked about the “very extreme” reactions to his latest film, Mother!, which the New Yorker described as the cinematic version of an equine root canal. After delivering the 10 Commandments of Independent Filmmaking at a capacity-crowd at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, Aronofsky was asked to address the central theme of Mother. The director said that as with his earlier film, The Fountain, he intended for people draw their own…