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Darren Aronofsky:
THE ASK HOLLYWOOD INTERVIEW


Interview conducted by an unknown interviewer from @sk Hollywood (http://www.myvideostore.com/content/askhollywood) concerning Darren Aronofsky's "Pi".


INTERVIEWER: Do you have a background in math?

DARREN ARONOFSKY: Not really. I studied math like everyone in high school but didn't continue with my studies in college. I'm just more intrigued with mystical mathematics.

INTERVIEWER: How much of the story about the Kabbalah is true?

DARREN ARONOFSKY: All the Kabbalah stuff is pretty damn true. Basically most of the stuff about the math and the Kabbalah is true. The fiction is in the glue that holds it together. That's what I created, the whole sort of tying it all together was my sort of invention. But all of the Kabbalah stuff is well researched and real.

INTERVIEWER: What filmmakers have influenced you?

DARREN ARONOFSKY: I'm a big fan of (Akira) Kurosawa and (Federico) Fellini. In this film in particular I think there's a lot of (Roman) Polanski influence and Terry Gilliam influence as well as a Japanese director named (Shinya) Tsukamoto he directed The Iron Man, Tetsuo. As far as being a storyteller I think my biggest influence was Bill Cosby and his comedy. And also as far as writing would probably be Hubert Selby, Jr.

INTERVIEWER: This movie can be classified as many different genres, whether is be action, sci-fi, suspense or drama. Which category do you think best describes Pi?

DARREN ARONOFSKY: We call it a Sci-fi thriller. Either that or a cyber punk movie.

INTERVIEWER: Why did you choose to shoot Pi in black and white?

DARREN ARONOFSKY: It was always a creative choice not really a budgetary constraint. Actually some people think black and white is cheaper. So few films are done in black and white these days that it's actually more expensive. So it actually cost us more money to do it. It cost us even more than most black and white movies because we decided to shoot a film stock called "black and white reversal" which no one has ever shot for a narrative feature film before. And it's this very sort of hard to get film stock that actually comes up very, very, contrasty.
The concept was always to make a black or white movie as opposed to a black and white movie. Meaning that there are no gray tones but you want everything to be black or white. I was sort of inspired by (the comic book) Frank Miller's "Sin City" and the look of that and to try and capture something like that.

INTERVIEWER: Sean Gullette is brilliant in the film as Max, the lead character of the film. How did you find him?

DARREN ARONOFSKY: Sean actually was my first friend in undergraduate college and he starred in my thesis film in college. We've just been friends for the last eight-nine years now. We've always collaborated and worked together and when I started Pi I knew he was the guy I wanted to be the star of it.

INTERVIEWER: The Sundance Film Festival was very successful for you this year; you won the Director's Award and the movie was sold to Artisan. As a filmmaker, what do you think of the whole Sundance process and experience?

DARREN ARONOFSKY: I think Sundance is a great, great invention. I think it's changed movie making in the world in a lot of ways because I think it's the first time there's been a stage for an independent film to be viewed by a larger audience.
So, I think Sundance has sort of introduced some of my favorite movies over the years to the world. And filmmakers, it's really launched a lot of great filmmakers. So, I'm very supportive of Sundance.

INTERVIEWER: As an audience member at Sundance this year, were there any other films that you liked?

DARREN ARONOFSKY: There were a lot of great films. I think it was a really exciting year at Sundance. There were a lot of really awesome films in competition this year. I was really honored to be surrounded by those films. There was Mark Levin's Slam. There was Buffalo 66. There were just a lot of exciting movies that have come out of Sundance this year.

INTERVIEWER: Is there anything you didn't expect about releasing a film to a national audience?

DARREN ARONOFSKY: When we made Pi we always had hopes that it would be released on a big scale, but what happened with Pi is way beyond any of the filmmakers' expectations. We would sit around and talk at a bar about the worse case scenario -- what we would do if we didn't get major distribution, how we would self-distribute, what we would do to get it out there and try to get some of the investors' money back. And then after a couple of years in the bar we'd sometimes talk about the best case scenario. But the reality of what happened is way beyond any of our expectations. I didn't expect any one to watch this besides my mom in her basement.

INTERVIEWER: And you listed all the contributor's names in the credits at the end.

DARREN ARONOFSKY: That was a big... To put someone's name on the screen doesn't cost us that much and it makes people feel real good so we tried to spread the wealth there.

INTERVIEWER: To how many digits can you recite pi, the figure?

DARREN ARONOFSKY: How many digits can I do? Let's see... 3.14159 and then it gets all shady. I can make up a lot of numbers and keep going but I don't know.
I never got into the memorizing thing. But there are people that are amazing. There are people that go on for -- I forget what the world record is but it's like thousands of digits that people have memorized pi. If I was doing that I probably wouldn't have gotten to make the film!

INTERVIEWER: What's your favorite kind of pie?

DARREN ARONOFSKY: I would have to go with... I don't eat that much type of pie but I'd probably have to go with turning pie into cake and go with cheesecake.

INTERVIEWER: Any good stock tips for me?

DARREN ARONOFSKY: That's a good one. I don't know, I'd say run for the hills.

INTERVIEWER: What future projects do you have lined up?

DARREN ARONOFSKY: The next project I'm doing is called Requiem For A Dream which is an adaptation of a Hubert Selby, Jr. novel. He wrote "Last Exit To Brooklyn". We're going to start shooting in mid-January actually. I also have a deal with Dimension Films to do a sci-fi horror film on a World War II sub. That's called Proteus. I'm also working with New Line Cinema on an adaptation of Frank Miller's "Ronin" (the comic book).