Darren Aronofsky is determined his intense style of filmmaking will not turn him into a monster in his personal life.
Aronofsky, 48, is dating Jennifer Lawrence, 27, the star of his new thriller Mother!, in which she plays a wife frustrated by the indifference of her writer husband, portrayed by Javier Bardem.
Although the couple only began dating after filming had wrapped, some critics have drawn parallels between Jennifer’s character’s troubled marriage to an artistic man and the filmmaker’s real life relationship with his leading lady.
Asked in an interview with British newspaper The Guardian whether Bardem based his portrayal of his character on him, he said “No, no, not at all. Javier knows me. He knows I’m not a monster.”
Elaborating, he explained that although he could be difficult while shooting a film, he is a normal family man and father to his Henry, his 11-year-old son by former partner Rachel Weisz, off-set.
“I only have to be a monster on set – for two or three months every few years,” he said. “The rest of the time I’m a nine-to-five father. I take my kid to school, go to sleep, live a life. Then go see my parents at weekends.”
Jennifer tore her diaphragm after hyperventilating while filming one particularly intense scene in Mother! However, Aronofsky admitted that after pausing shooting to allow her to recover, he was determined to capture her emotion on screen.
“I mean, we gave her time to recover,” he explained. “The thing is that she’d been thinking about that scene way too long, and it got all up in her head.
“So then the emotions flooded her and I saw what was happening – because I’m experienced – and was able to get the camera in the right place. The shot was originally on her back and I flipped the whole thing, let her recover and then said, ‘Get the camera on her face, right now’, because that’s the kind of emotion that you never, ever see.”
Mother! is released on 14 September (17).