Through it’s cute illustrated poster, silly promotional stunt involving heart-shaped cakes, and frustratingly-styled title (with its lowercase ‘m’ and exclamation mark) might suggest mother! is some kind of new twee comedy, it’s actually a horror film—an “extreme,” “ambitiously bonkers” “torrent of despair.”
It is, after all, written and directed by Darren Aronofsky. As the creative mind behind Requiem For a Dream and Black Swan, the 48-year-old has a history of making his actors give 150 percent to their characters.
When asked about working with Mickey Rourke on The Wrestler, Aronofsky said his biggest job as a director was “just to push, pull, encourage, inspire, challenge ... for him to really, really dig deep.” While filming Noah, star Russell Crowe dug so deep that he went and got hypothermia. “I couldn’t stop shaking. I couldn’t stop crying,” he said about the shoot. Most famously, Natalie Portman nearly suffered a “total breakdown” while shooting Aronofsky’s ballet horror Black Swan, the film for which she won an Oscar.
So it should be of no surprise that Jennifer Lawrence also suffered injuries while shooting Darren’s latest cinematic nightmare. At this week’s London premiere of mother!, Lawrence revealed that she “tore her diaphragm” while “hyperventilating for a scene.”
“People thought I was beaten up so I want to clear it up that I did it to myself,” she said. “It was my own doing.”
What is it about Aronofsky that makes actors so willing to fuck themselves up?