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11 minutes with the stylistic wunderkind behind Pi and Requiem For A Dream.

Interview conducted by Spence D. from Formen.Ign.Com concerning Darren Aronofsky's "Requiem For A Dream".

IGN For Men: What the hell is up with you other than this whirlwind press tour and film festival invasion?

Darren Aronofsky: Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-huh! Oooh, not much besides that, to tell you the truth. That's about it., you know [his sentence trails off with remnants of laughter]

IGN4M: I gotta know, do you dream in black & white or color?

DA: Ooooh. I think color. I don't know if that's always, but I'm pretty sure it's color.

IGN4M: Is that to imply that you don't remember all of your dreams?

DA: I don't remember most of my dreams.

IGN4M: Then does that mean that your filmmaking is not inspired by your dreams, since you don't remember most of them?

DA: I don't...nah, I think certain images have been in the past, but not really. Maybe without me thinking about it, sure. I think the dreams I do remember are usually, ummm, they usually have pretty intense messages.

IGN4M: In terms of Requiem, how did you hook up with Selby? Was this a project that was thrown your way...?

DA: Oh no, no, no, no. I've been a crazy Selby fan for a very long time. He inspired me to be a writer and I've wanted to collaborate with him for a long time, so I've been stalking him.

IGN4M: What, would you park outside of his house and spy on him with binoculars?

DA: No, no, no. He's extremely accessible. In fact, he's listed in the White Pages, so he's very, very easy to get a hold of. Yeah, yeah, he's very accessible.

IGN4M: With your first film you were kind of the control freak, in terms of the fact that you wrote and directed it yourself. How was it this time around to share script duties with Selby?

DA: It's great. You know, I mean ultimately filmmaking is a collaborative experience. You're always, always working towards collaboration, because, you know, it's one of those crafts where you just need a lot of different artists to work together.

IGN4M: Is that one of the reasons that you keep such a close-knit unit, working with producer Eric Watson, cinematographer Matthew Libatique and others regularly? Does that fall into the adage of keeping folks around that you know you can collaborate easily with? And then bring new faces into the fold as you see fit?

DA: Yeah, you know, yeah. I think you're exactly right. I think when you work with people a few times you get a shorthand that just speeds up the communication a lot better.

IGN4M: Do you guys have your own secret sign language, you know, like the managers of major league ball clubs and how they communicate with the players on the field? You know, where you brush your face, tug your ear and that means you want a hot pastrami on rye and not to bother you for the next hour 'cuz you're going in to mix sound?

DA: No, and I don't eat any meat, so it wouldn't be a hot pastrami on rye. It would probably be more like an Ahi Tuna sandwich [laughs]

IGN4M: Hey, whaddya know, that was gonna be my next question. So you don't eat red meat?

DA: No, I don't eat red meat, no.

IGN4M: What about chicken?

DA: I don't eat white meat.

IGN4M: Just fish and veggies then.

DA: Seafood, vegetables, fruit, minerals, uhhh, humans, that's about it.

IGN4M: Hey, we're on the same diet plan then, with the exception of humans, which I don't eat. But basically we're Ichthiovalactovegetarians.

DA: Yeah, exactly!

IGN4M: So I watched Pi again after seeing Requiem and I noticed that in both films you're big on repetition, both visual and aural repetition. I mean more so in Requiem.

DA: Yeah, yeah. But I think that's the way you tell a joke, that's the way you tell a story. Set-up, set-up, set-up, payoff, you know? And so, you know, that's the way I've learned to tell stories.

IGN4M: I was a Speech Comm major in college and repetition is one of the standard rhetorical devices used to move a story along, so obviously this is a conscious decision on your part, right? I mean I can't think of many modern films that rely on repetition the way both of your films to date have.

DA: Yeah. I just think it really works well and I think it worked really, really well with this story, because the story is about obsession and obsession is often about repetition.

IGN4M: Ahhhh, it's like those folks with Obsessive/Compulsive Disorder.

DA: Exactly, which basically all addicts are.

IGN4M: Another thing I found interesting is that if you strip Requiem down to its bare essence, it's a story about people trying to escape reality. Now I'm sure the irony of what I'm about to say won't be lost of you, but you yourself are dealing in a medium--film--which is in and of itself all about escaping reality. Cinema itself is basically about stripping away reality.

DA: I'm your pusherman, baby! Givin' ya images!

IGN4M: How the hell do you keep a grasp on reality when you're reality is based on unreality?

DA: Ummm...

IGN4M: Am I getting way to bogusly metaphysical?

DA: No, no, I think that's a good question. You know, I try to surround myself with people I know are very grounded and aren't full of shit. And I think that helps. I hang out with my family a lot. I hang out with my friends from my childhood. And that keeps me grounded.

IGN4M: So you don't buy into all the Hollywood hype that's bandied about?

DA: Definitely not.

IGN4M: What's one thing that your mother told you not to do as a kid?

DA: Don't bite off your nose to spite your face.

IGN4M: Have you followed that advice?

DA: Oh it's great advice.

IGN4M: You know, to expose my stupidity, I don't even think I know what the hell that means?

DA: It means, you know, don't be spiteful 'cuz it will hurt you. She also told me 'Would've, could've, should've, didn't.'

IGN4M: That's pretty self explanatory, those are all the words you should never use as they are defeatist in nature.

DA: No, no, no, no. That's if you wanted to do something and you didn't do it and you're regretting it. That's 'No Regrets,' you know, 'Would've, could've, should've, didn't.'

IGN4M: Ahhh, okay. The closet thing I've got to that is one time on a flight back from Europe the old guy next to me said 'If you spend all of your time looking over you're shoulder you'll never move forward.'

DA: There you go! Exactly. [Same principle] different words.

IGN4M: Are you a big Pop Will Eat Itself fan?

DA: Uh, no.

IGN4M: Then how did you hook up with Clint Mansell, who scored both Pi and Requiem?

DA: He was goin' out with our music supervisor and she suggested Clint as a composer and he slowly wormed his way into my life.

IGN4M: Will he be involved in your next project?

DA: I can only hope I could be so blessed.

IGN4M: I noticed additional sonic augmentation by Kronos Quartet. How did that fall into place?

DA: We showed them the movie and they really responded.

IGN4M: So was that a similar situation as with Selby, in terms of you knowing that you wanted to work with them and then tracking them down yourself?

DA: Yeah. But also, when Clint started delivering music there was a lot of strings involved in the music. And I knew we needed some type of stringed accompaniment. And pretty soon we went after the best and the Kronos responded.

IGN4M: You just sent them a copy of the film...?

DA: I think David Harrington [one of the core members of Kronos] was in New York and we set up a video projection for him.

IGN4M: Now when Clint worked on scoring the film did he compose stuff prior to production, after filming was completed or was he on hand during shooting?

DA: All of the above. He was there for the whole process.

IGN4M: And is that how you did the score for Pi, as well?

DA: Yeah.

IGN4M: I know that Stuart Rosenberg [director of such classics as Cool Hand Luke] was your mentor and that one of his favorite sayings was 'Where is your audience?' So what would your credo or mantra be? You know, what saying do you try to live by when it comes to working on a film?

DA: Ooooh. Ummm, hmmmm. I don't know? 'I will survive'?

IGN4M: What, do you have Gloria Gaynor on a looped tape piping throughout the set?

DA: [laughs] Aww, no. It's just a matter of perseverance because it's a very, very difficult thing. Oh! They're telling me I have to go, so I guess a couple of more [questions].

IGN4M: Uh, okay. What kind of comics did you read as a youth?

DA: None! I was not a comic book fan at all until...I really never was a comic book fan. I got into the artwork in high school, like late high school and then in college. But before that I never really read 'em.

IGN4M: Who were the artists you got into?

DA: I liked the Hernandez Brothers, Los Bros Hernandez, you know, the Love and Rockets guys. I liked Frank Miller, of course. Alan Moore and Dave Gibbon's Watchmen was a great piece. Ummm, that type of stuff.

IGN4M: Speaking of Miller, I know that the two of you are supposed to be working on Batman: Year One together. How did you and him get connected? Was that yet another case of you chasing down someone you wanted to work with?

DA: Yeah, I went after Miller because I wanted to develop Ronin, which was one of his early comic book series, into a feature.

IGN4M: Obviously Ronin didn't come to fruition, so now it's all about the Dark Knight, eh?

DA: Exactly.

IGN4M: Now you and him haven't begun writing the script yet.

DA: No, no , no, we haven't started to work yet, but we've met many times.

IGN4M: I thought he was kind of pissed off at Hollywood after his experiences with Robocop. I'm stoked that you were able to lure him back to the movies.

DA: Yeah, I don't know how true that was. I believe he had a pretty good experience on Robocop 2, actually.

IGN4M: Ahh, the wonderful disinformation that always seems to permeate the entertainment industry.

DA: Yeah, yeah. Ohh, they're calling me again. I've got to go.

IGN4M: Alright, man, thanks...

DA: Yeah, thank you...bye-bye...bye Spence!