By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist January 17, 2011 at 4:29AM
Aronofsky Disses 'The Company,' Calls Method Acting "Wasted Energy"
While “Black Swan” continues to climb the U.S. box office and turn heads this awards season, director Darren Aronofsky is already mulling over his future projects. Of course, he's got "Wolverine" shooting this year with Hugh Jackman, but he's already looking beyond.
In an interview with Clothes On Film, he divulges that there might be a comic book in the works. “Well, we’re actually doing one. It hasn’t really been announced, I don’t know if I should give you the scoop! But we’re getting there. We’re doing a comic book of a script that’s really hard to make and we’re going to do a comic version first and see what happens…” It should be noted that other sites are claiming that geek dream project "Batman: Year One" is the script in question (it was suggested by the interviewer) but Aronofsky's answer hardly confirms that. In fact it seems to point to another script entirely, and as Bleeding Cool suggests, it could be "Noah's Ark," another long gestating project. Seems like a good guess.
As anyone who followed the saga of his 2006 film “The Fountain” will remember, that script too turned into a comic book. After trying for several years to get the film produced, the project fell apart after star Brad Pitt left it just weeks before shooting was set to begin. Aronofsky, who had spent years thinking about this story, thought the only way it would see the light of day would be to release it as a comic. “You work really hard on something and want to get it out there. The reason that 'The Fountain' comic exists is because for a long time we didn’t think that the film was going to happen, so I went after an artist because I wanted to get that finished and out there. I’m a storyteller, so if I can’t tell it in my medium of choice I try to do it another way.” It was only after that Aronofsky decided to rewrite the script turning the $70 million film into a $35 million one that eventually got the greenlight from Warner Bros.
Aronofsky says he’s usually the “only one in the room” excited about an idea and always struggles to get each of his films produced. Comic book movies, for some reason, seem like a safer bet to studios and even underground comics get turned into big budget films. “It seems like if you come up with an original script, in Hollywood it’s not as effective as a comic book. It doesn’t even have to be successful as a comic; I mean how successful were 'Kick-Ass' or 'Scott Pilgrim'? Those were fringe comics, right, and they were basically turned in to big pictures.”
The typically candid Brooklyn-born filmmaker also said that he looked at other ballet films before making “Black Swan,” but most were awful including Robert Altman's "The Company." “Well, it came out when I was first looking at doing a ballet film. I think it’s a terrible film, sorry, but most films in the ballet world, beside 'The Red Shoes,' are pretty awful. That film at least was realistic, but all it really was was a concert film. I really wasn’t into it. I’m trying to think of other films set in the ballet world. 'Center Stage'….” Aronofsky also mentioned that he’s looking at turning “Black Swan” into a ballet with choreographer (and Natalie baby daddy) Benjamin Millepied. Though we would be thrilled to see a Clint Mansell orchestrated ballet, the filmmaker concedes that it isn’t exactly a sure thing. “Chasing money for ballet seems harder than chasing money for movies!”
He also acknowledged his transition from primarily a visual filmmaker to more of an actor’s director though he did have some interesting remarks regarding method acting. “I’m pretty critical of the method. I used to think it was cool, but watching Ellen Burstyn and being around a couple of the old masters I think it’s actually pretty selfish. It’s just make believe you know, there’s a half a million dollar camera sitting there and forty lights, and you’ve got to hit a technical mark; what is the “method” when it’s such a technical job? It’s about make believing for a very, very short window. I think the method could work if you’re on stage, when you’ve got to stay in character and keep the adrenaline running that makes sense, but film is literally little bursts of acting, 20 seconds here, 20 seconds there, 10 seconds there, but once it takes over you don’t need to be an asshole all day. To me it doesn’t impress me, actors that do that; it’s a lot of wasted energy.”
“Black Swan” is in theaters now and if you need to give it a second or third viewing that probably couldn’t hurt. -Cory Everett