Few people would describe Darren Aronofsky movies as laugh riots. But when the director accepted the Stoli Pioneer Award last night at the Tribeca Grand by saying “I grew up in Brooklyn. The only pioneering spirit I had was to get the fuck out of Brooklyn,” you realized that even people behind the most harrowing art can have a light touch.-
Speaking of a light touch, former biology nerd Aronofsky also spoke of a teenage gig on a “fecal moisture crew” that allowed him rare intimacy with dead African wildebeests. He spared the crowd most of the gruesome details:
“All I’ll say is, it involved a latex glove up to my shoulder.”
Luckily, hors d'oeuvres at the party had been light.
Shockingly, Aronofsky was able to tear himself away from the study of water ungulate morphology in order to pursue a movie career that has maintained indie credibility despite twelve years of critical acclaim. But the experience, which came courtesy of the School for Field Studies, stuck with him. He’s donating the $25,000 Stolichnaya honorarium to the school.
The director’s work has spanned as many cinematic styles as plotlines, from paranoid math geniuses (Pi) to Brighton Beach drug addicts (Requiem for a Dream) to mystical time travelers (The Fountain) and down and out brawlers (The Wrestler).
On deck is Black Swan, a psychological drama about rival dancers played by Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis, with Robocop and a Jackie O biopic rumored to be in the planning stages. In other words, Aronofsky's eclectic pioneering continues.
Photo via Niko Tavernise