“It was the film I wanted to make. Of all my movies, to the people that are fans, it’s almost like a cult religion, they get tattoos and I’m constantly getting long letters from people saying it helped them come to terms with something.” Seven years after the lukewarm theatrical release of “The Fountain,” director Darren Aronofsky looks upon his passion project starring Hugh Jackman as a fulfilling endeavor, but no doubt remains that its path to existence was enormously difficult. Surviving cast and budget changes over many years before it began production, the sci-fi drama retains a backstory to match its ambitious scope—one that filmmaker/photographer Niko Tavernise has put online for interested parties.
A friend and collaborator of Aronofsky’s since the director’s first feature, “Pi,” Tavernise has attained a comfortable role and unique, in-depth perspective on the behind-the-scenes workings of each film since then. His hour-long work, “The Fountain: Death and Rebirth,” is no different: gleaned from over 300 hours of footage, it charts the filmmaking team as they move from initial scouting sessions in Australia to the production based mainly in Montreal—all the while capturing the intricate time-hopping sets, interplay between Aronofsky and stars Jackman and Rachel Weisz, and also the process of creating the film’s incredible visual effects.
You can catch the full documentary below, and also on Tavernise’s Vimeo page, where—in addition to an extra 30-minute chapter on “The Fountain” entitled “Access To Excess”—he’s hosted a 42-minute BTS documentary on “The Wrestler,” the director’s intimate 2008 film starring Mickey Rourke. As befitting the stripped-down aesthetic of that film, the doc “Within the Ring” is raw, filmed under noticeably frigid conditions, and, in a fantastic sight, contains Aronofsky attempting to jump over the top rope of a wrestling ring to shaky results. Sit back and watch it all below.