Darren Aronofsky’s movies usually require intense performances. Brad Pitt couldn’t even handle The Fountain, and look how raw Mickey Rourke got in The Wrestler. Requiem for a Dream anyone? Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis and Barbara Hershey take it to the extremes in Black Swan.
You’d think with these types of roles, Aronofsky would welcome the most intense method actors he could find. Actually, it’s the opposite, he revealed at a press conference for Black Swan.
“I’ve dealt with a few method actors, and I don’t know if should say this, but I think it’s a bunch of nonsense,” Aronofsky said. “I think it’s film acting and you just have to be on when the camera is rolling. I mean, sure, if it’s a very intense scene then you might want to keep that energy in between the takes while the crew is resetting and they would all do that, but when it’s cut it’s cut. Even when it’s action there’s still a camera here and all these lights and all these people moving around you. It’s impossible to fully make believe that doesn’t exist.”
When you put it that way, method acting does kind of sound like a crock. Maybe the real stars are the ones who can be real when there is no method around. “That’s why they’re so good, that they’re able to sort of make believe that that’s not there convincingly, but the second that it’s cut someone is coming over to touch your mic and someone is putting powder on your face. It is make believe, but I don’t know. Whatever works, not to scare away method actors. Actually I want to scare away method actors because it’s a pain. It’s like, ‘Come on, what are you doing? It’s not real. What are you doing? Oh, you’re really brooding. Okay, good. Go to your trailer. I’ll see you in an hour.’”
Aronofsky keeps it totally real, and that’s why some actors don’t even want to work with him. “I’ve actually scared away a lot of A-List actors. In fact, Natalie Portman is the first A-List actor I’ve worked with in my career. Everyone else sort of went, ‘You want me to do what, for how long, for how little money?’ And then they walk away. So I’ve lost a lot of movie stars along the way, and I think that a more manipulative director would be like, ‘Oh, it’s not going to that hard. Come in and we’ll have fun,’ but I think that’s when wars start. It’s like, ‘You told me there would be sushi on set everyday.’ So I’m a little bit too direct, too straightforward I think.”
Black Swan opens Friday.