A Chat With Rachel Weisz…
DARREN ARONOSKY’s sci-fi opus THE FOUNTAIN, spans centuries and continents, and true to Aronofsky form, has divided audiences – you either love it, or sit with knitted eyebrows, scratching your head and wonder just what is going on. According to its star (and Aronofsky’s fiancée) Rachel Weisz, who co-stars with Hugh Jackman, ultimately, its meaning all boils down to one little word…
So, what is The Fountain all about?
Love. It’s a cosmic love story, like Romeo and Juliet, except that there the families hate each other, and here the hurdle is that she’s being torn away from him prematurely. Ultimately, what the movie is about is that life is finite, it doesn’t last forever, and therefore we have to take that walk in the snow with our loved ones, because every moment is precious, and every moment should be cherished.
Is that a philosophy you share with the film?
As an adult I figured out it’s a pretty good way to be. We’re so worried about what just happened, and what’s about to happen, we often miss what’s happening in the moment.
How did you feel the first time you read it?
The very first time I read it, it blew me away. It was so emotional and romantic – like big Capital-R Romantic. It broke my heart and made me sob and made me think. I remember where I was when I first read it, it was late at night, and I was just up all night think... it made me think about all those big questions that sometimes keep us awake at night, you know, ‘What’s it all about?’
Hugh was instrumental in helping to get The Fountain revived after it was shut down in 2002. Why do you think Darren was so determined not to let it die?
That’s Darren. I can’t think of another example of a person who would keep, you know... I’m not going to mention the names of the films that he was offered – Hollywood films – and he just said ‘No’ to every single one because this is what he wanted to do. And it’s a testament to, I think, his passion and belief as an artist. Everybody said ‘No’ many, many, many, many, many times. He just kept biting. To the point, you know, I’d have some agents say to me, in Hollywood, you know, ‘What’s he doing? He’s mad! He should work!’ That was their opinion. But he doesn’t really go with the herd. He does his own thing.
Like many works of art, The Fountain seems to have divided people into those who aren’t sure about it and those who adore it. Why do you think that is?
Darren makes divisive films, so I thought it was only to be expected that this was going to divide audiences and especially the press. In Venice, at the world premiere, we had a 10 minute standing ovation. And the (US) premiere, at the Chinese Theatre, was the most incredible night – it just went down so well.
Why do you think people love it?
It’s very emotional, dramatic, and romantic. And there’s action and special effects and science fiction… It’s an adventure. It’s just not like anything else. And it’s got, you know, conquistadors and fights and mayans – It’s not a big intellectual movie... you know, some elitist, didactic treatise on Death and Life.
It seems like you hardly ever stop working. What drives you?
There are so many stories to tell and I love nothing more than immersing myself in a good story and telling it. It’s an amazing job to have, and often it doesn’t really feel ‘job-like’. It’s so different every day, every minute, every hour… every time you do a take it’s different. It’s such a great gig to have in life.
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