Darren Aronofsky Praises Hugh Jackman in The Fountain
by Alex Billington
November 14, 2006
At the press day last weekend for The Fountain in Los Angeles, director/writer Darren Aronofsky praised Hugh Jackman for his capabilities and work in the film. He talked about his story meeting him and bringing him on to the project and his emotional depth as well as incredible physical capabilities. Read on to hear what Aronofsky said.
In talking about the chemistry between Hugh and Rachel, the lovers in the film: "And they just completed connected, and it was just electric. It was one of those things as a director you hope happens in a casting room. Which rarely ever happens, where you see two actors look at each other and understand each other."
Darren also talks about the emotional level that Hugh displayed on screen. "How many male actors have you actually seen do emotional work? On the road, that's come up. I've been in 15 cities in the last 2-3 weeks, and a lot of different people, women, have said to me, I've never seen a man that vulnerable, on or off screen. I didn't really know what he could do, because when I first started this he wasn't on my list, because he had just done Wolverine - which he was fantastic as. He became a star off of, which is an amazing, difficult thing to do if you're a fan - just to step into that role out of no where and actually pull it off was a big accomplishment. But, I hadn't seen nothing else. Then when I saw 'The Boy From Oz,' I just saw an incredible amount of talent, it was undeniable. Outside of what he did in The Fountain, the guy can sing and dance. I mean it's really kind of upsetting. It's just remarkable what he did in this movie. And it's overlooked somewhat."
Praising Jackman's physical capabilities: "Physically you won't find a specimen on the planet like him. This is the type of guy that could have been an Olympic athlete, gold medalist, in so many different sports - who knows. So that was amazing. We had a stunt double - and I know it's kinda clichÃ© that he did all his stunts - but we had a stunt double, but he was better than the stunt double. In everything - so he climbed the tree, that's him climbing the tree. Time after time after time, everything in the movie, the fights, just everything. And outside of that, emotionally, he just unleashed."
"And then I was at a hotel, we were staying at the same hotel, and I'm sitting there kinda during my curls, my 20 lbs. curls. And this guy is moving a machine across the room. He was pulling this thing and the machine's jumping. I'm like, 'what the hell, who is that freak?' And it was Hugh Jackman training for X-Men 2. And I went over and I said 'hey, how you doing' and so he stuck. Then he went from that type of size to, in 12 months, being able to get into full lotus position. Which if anyone's ever done yoga, I mean I've been doing it for 7-8 years and can't get into lotus position. But he got into full lotus and performed all those scenes, where he's in lotus, underwater."
Discussing his emotional capacity and depth of character while filming takes to get the perfect scene: "When you're first doing the emotional scene, you start off wide. That's the traditional way to shoot a scene - you start off wide because it establishes the lighting and then you go in for close-ups. We got the camera, and suddenly these faucets started to open. It's like 'ok cut; get the camera in as quick as you can.' We flew the camera in and we just went. And he would go until he was dry. And then we would take a 10 minute break and we would go again until he was dry. It was a bit abusive, but he loved it. So we enjoyed it. That was why the cut took so long, the editing took so long, because him and Rachel, both of them, played every scene on every note - every note imaginable. Usually the actor will give you just one kind of take on it. But then I was like, you know what, 'play it as Thomas, play it as Tom, play it sad, play it angry, play it a little bit angrier, ok play it now really happy.' And we just bounced around and tried different things and it was a joy."
From what I saw in The Fountain of Jackman's performance, I was mesmerized. It's one of the best roles he's ever taken in his career and is played just perfectly. The Fountain opens nationwide this upcoming Wednesday, November 22nd. Definitely go catch this in theaters opening day and you will be treated not only to an amazing film, but a mesmerizing performance from Jackman!
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