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SEAN GULLETTE & DARREN ARONOFSKY


Interview conducted by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders from http://www.covermag.com concerning Darren Aronofsky's "Pi".


TG-S: Describe Pi.

Darren: delivers the meaning of life in 86 minutes -- Guaranteed.

TG-S: What's the whole Kabbalah thing about.

Darren: People always ask if the Kabbalah stuff is real, but they never ask about the spiral unifying theory of the universe. I'm curious if they find it ludicrous or accept it blindly.

TG-S: How did you get to look so great for only $60,000?

Darren: By recognizing our limitations we got high production value. We turned our weaknesses into strengths. For instance, we could only afford 16mm film, but color 16mm looks like shit no matter what you do with it. So, my cinematographer and I decided to make as stylized a film as we could with black and white. We didn't want to make a gray film like Clerks. We wanted to make a black or white film, so we chose b/w reversal film. It's hard to buy, it's hard to expose and it's hard to process, but if you nail it, it's gorgeous. We couldn't afford a band to record the score in a studio so we used an electronic musician who composed everything with samples from his keyboard.

TG-S: What about the crew?

Darren: We had no budget to pay people so we got them involved by equally sharing potential profits. Everyone from the Director to the DP to the PA to the Star had an equal share in the film.

Sean: One of the effects of no budget filmmaking is that everyone who shows up to work is motivated by a desire to work. No one is there for the money, but instead for the passion of it.

TG-S: Tell me about the casting.

Darren: I chose Sean Gullette to be the lead of because I wanted a deep collaboration with an actor on a project. Sean had the right edgy feel for the character as well as the dedication and passion to bring Max Cohen to life.

Sean: My friendship with Darren began with a collaboration on his thesis film at Harvard -- Supermarket Sweep. I played a violent sociopath.

TG-S: What's he like as a director?

Sean: Darren really is a narrative genius. As a actor, working on was a very highly concentrated learning experience. I have a stage acting background but Darren taught me about film acting. I fell in love with the smallness of it.

Darren: Sean and I plan to do more collaborations. Sean has a brilliant mind, understands character, and is able to translate it to the screen.

TG-S: What are your plans?

Sean: This is my first feature. I just want to keep making good films. As an actor I don't want to be trapped in the psychopath ghetto. I love Brando, Toshiro Mifune, Julianne Moore. Working with Darren on set, allowed me to really go out on a limb as an actor and still feel somewhat safe.

Darren: After Pi, I no longer have to eat just pizza and falafel. Hopefully this will allow me to do more mainstream intelligent sci-fi pictures. I would like to continue to work in the independent film world. Also, I'm working on a screen adaptation of Requiem For A Dream, by Hubert Selby Jr.