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Darren Aronofsky Originally Wanted A More Hip-Hop Score For 'Requiem For A Dream'

Photo of Kevin Jagernauth By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist October 14, 2013 at 4:21PM

While we patiently await Darren Aronofsky's epic "Noah," let's take a trip back in time to an era when the director was still an untested indie filmmaker. He had made waves with his low-budget, paranoid thriller "Pi," and raised the stakes for his sophomore effort, "Requiem For A Dream." The adaptation of the Hubert Selby Jr. novel was a grim look at addiction, earning an NC-17 rating for its tough content and graphic sex scene. But that couldn't stop the support for the film, which drew critical raves for its performances (earning Ellen Burstyn an Oscar nomination), Aronofsky's direction and the score by Clint Mansell, who at the time, was just working on his second film (his first was 'Pi'). And as he tells it, Aronofsky originally had a different vision for the soundtrack.
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Requiem For A Dream Jennifer Connelly

While we patiently await Darren Aronofsky's epic "Noah," let's take a trip back in time to an era when the director was still an untested indie filmmaker. He had made waves with his low-budget, paranoid thriller "Pi," and raised the stakes for his sophomore effort, "Requiem For A Dream." The adaptation of the Hubert Selby Jr. novel was a grim look at addiction, earning an NC-17 rating for its tough content and graphic sex scene. But that couldn't stop the support for the film, which drew critical raves for its performances (earning Ellen Burstyn an Oscar nomination), Aronofsky's direction and the score by Clint Mansell, who at the time, was just working on his second film (his first was 'Pi'). And as he tells it, Aronofsky originally had a different vision for the soundtrack.

Speaking during a masterclass at BFI London Film Festival, Mansell shared what the first conception of the score was. "Darren was a big hip-hop fan and his original idea was that we'd use hip-hop elements for the score," the composer explained. "There's a scene early in the film where Ellen Burstyn's character first takes the diet pills and she's vacuuming the room. It's all fast and then it wears off and it all slows down. So then he put over it '[She Watch] Channel Zero [?!]' by Public Enemy, and it was really incredible... but it doesn't do anything besides being cool. It's just visually and sonically interesting, but it didn't help express anything about the film."

A fascinating tidbit, and now we just want to see what an Arofonsfky hip-hop movie looks like. Until then, hopefully someone out there recuts that scene to the Public Enemy tune which you can listen to below. Read more about Mansell's masterclass at Indiewire.

This article is related to: Darren Aronofsky, Clint Mansell


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