Darren Aronofsky would like you to see his new film, Black Swan, as a companion to his previous Oscar nominated The wrestler. Maybe they’ll show as a double feature. Black Swan is about a ballet dancer (Natalie Portman) losing her grip with reality, and The Wrestler was about a steroid monster trying to make up with his daughter. You see the similarities.
“I don’t really think there’s that much difference,” Aranofsky said. “I don’t think it’s that much of a big deal. I think people are people and if their feelings are real and truthful they can connect. I keep saying that it doesn’t matter if you’re an aging fifty something year old wrestler at the end of his career or an ambitious twenty something year old ballet dancer. If they’re truthful to who they are and they’re expressing something real then audiences will connect. That’s always been the promise of cinema and that’s why we can see a film about a seven year old girl in Iran or an immortal superhero in America. It doesn’t matter as long as they’re truthful.”
Also, they’re both kind of the ultimate sports movies The wrestler took staples in his chest and jacked up his heart on steroids. The dancer breaks her toes and breaks out in hives from all the hours of training. Aronofsky portrayed the dance world as starkly as he did the ring.
“The whole cinema verite handheld approach to The Wrestler was a big risk to bring over into this ballet film because I had never seen a kind of suspenseful film that had this kind of handheld camera and I didn’t know if it would work. I was always really worried that if in a really scary scene everyone would wonder why Natalie wouldn’t turn to the cameraman and go, ‘Help’, or something. So I didn’t know if it was going to work, but then we sort of went, ‘F*ck it. Lets just go for it because it’s never been done,’ and I really enjoyed the camera moving.”
The wrestler may have had some real life issues, but the dancer gets the full Aronofsky treatment. He goes all Requiem for a Dream on her. “Having a man hold the camera I could really move the camera in ways that you can’t in any other way. The result of that is that the first third of the film has a very different feel than the last half of the film because it’s got this very naturalistic feel which I think actually is kind of cool because it makes people feel like they’re watching a very different type of movie that can’t ever freak out like the way that it freaks out. Yet, it gives you that kind of immediacy of being in that other moment and being in this other world with little hints like she’s peeling her finger and things are going to get really freaked out. In general it just feels like a documentary in the beginning before it freaks out. So it kind of worked out for us.
Black Swan freaks out theaters Dec. 3.