Whither the 90-minute dramatic feature? Even though Darren Aronofsky’s students at NYU, where he is teaching these days, tell him they want to make movies, the director of Noah and Black Swan told the crowd at Produced By NY today that the future of movie-going is relegated to horror, comedy and event films.
Interviewed by Lakeshore Films President Gary Lucchesi –who was forced to wear it when Aronofsky and his producing partner Scott Franklin teased him about how Lakeshore passed on financing Black Swan — Aronofsky took a tour through his acclaimed films and his rough-and-tumble career making films that, as he said, tend to fall between the cracks of any particular genre.
“I keep thinking about where film is right now,” Aronofsky said during his session at Produced By today. With cinema facing off against the golden age of television and burgeoning distribution platforms, Aronofsky pondered whether movie audiences would only gravitate toward certain genre films with a 90-minute running length.
Lucchesi segueing to Aronofsky’s Noah, said sotto voce, “I thought the movie was terrific.”
This seemed to be Aronofsky’s cue to comment on some of the issues he faced in making a Biblical epic he’d first set up with Lynda Obst, on the Fox lot, back in 1998, when “I didn’t have the skills to do it yet” said the helmer.
“We went through a very, very long, silly preview process,” Aronofsky said. “It’s a very unique situation because it’s a character that is incredibly well-known, and preconceptions for people are so different.”
Basically, Aronofsky said, he knew the film was destined to offend certain mainstream sensibilities—those who were expecting a version of the “Playmobil toy.”
“When you read the story, it’s so mythological, everything that happens is a miracle,” Aronofsky said. “What we were trying to do is, say, ‘Look, there’s incredibly poetry’ in the story; that is more powerful than any argument about literal truth.”
Franklin said he is busy trying to set up a slate of movies for the next five to 10 years under the pair’s Protozoa Pictures’ deal with New Regency. Aronofsky did not reveal anything new about MaddAddam, his planned trilogy for HBO based on the Margaret Atwood novels.
Aronsofksy also discussed that he recently discovered, much to his chagrin, that “Lux Aeterna,” from British composer Clint Mansell’s score of Requiem for a Dream, had become the anthem for “a racist right wing Hungarian party.” In 2011, Norwegian right wing extremist, Anders Behring Breivik, also revealed that he listened to “Lux Aeterna” on repeat during his killing spree at a summer camp.
However, it was Aronofsky’s story about Sylvester Stallone, whom the director first met when he was casting The Wrestler, that brought the house down. The pair became friends, and Aronofsky later invited Stallone to the L.A. premiere of Black Swan. When Stallone arrived, Aronofsky announced: “Sly’s in the house.” There was a sudden silence, and “you just heard in the background, ‘Ayyy.’”