Darren Aronofsky is an American filmmaker and environmentalist.
Let’s find out some fun facts about him!
1. Darren Aronofsky was born February 12, 1969 in Brooklyn, New York.
2. He is the son of public school teachers Charlotte and Abraham Aronofsky.
3. He grew up in the borough’s Manhattan Beach neighborhood, where he was “raised culturally Jewish, but there was very little spiritual attendance in temple.
4. It was a cultural thing—celebrating the holidays, knowing where you came from, knowing your history, having respect for what your people have been through.”
5. He graduated from Edward R. Murrow High School.
6. He has one sister, Patti, who attended a professional ballet school through high school.
7. His parents would often take him to Broadway theater performances, which sparked his keen interest in show business.
8. During his youth, he trained as a field biologist with The School for Field Studies in Kenya in 1985 and Alaska in 1986.
9. He attended school in Kenya to pursue an interest in learning about ungulates.
10. Aronofsky’s interest in the outdoors led him to backpack his way through Europe and the Middle East.
11. In 1987, he entered Harvard University, where he majored in social anthropology and studied filmmaking; he graduated in 1991.
12. He became seriously interested in film while attending Harvard after befriending Dan Schrecker, an aspiring animator, and Sean Gullette, who would go on to star in Aronofsky’s first film, Pi.
13. His cinematic influences included Akira Kurosawa, Roman Polanski, Terry Gilliam, Shinya Tsukamoto, Hubert Selby, Jr. Spike Lee, and Jim Jarmusch.
14. Aronofsky’s senior thesis film, Supermarket Sweep, was a finalist in the 1991 Student Academy Awards.
15. In 1992, Aronofsky received his MFA degree in directing from the AFI Conservatory, where his classmates included Todd Field, Doug Ellin, Scott Silver and Mark Waters.
16. He won the institute’s Franklin J. Schaffner Alumni Medal.
17. He won several film awards after completing his senior thesis film, Supermarket Sweep, which went on to become a National Student Academy Award finalist.
18. Aronofsky’s feature debut, the surrealist psychological thriller Pi, was shot in November 1997.
19. The low-budget, $60,000 production, starring Sean Gullette, was sold to Artisan Entertainment for $1 million, and grossed over $3 million; Aronofsky won the Directing Award at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival and an Independent Spirit Award for best first screenplay.
20. Aronofsky’s followup, the psychological drama Requiem for a Dream, was based on the novel of the same name by Hubert Selby, Jr. The film garnered strong reviews and received an Academy Award nomination for Ellen Burstyn’s performance.
21. The film also generated considerable controversy due to the graphic nature of several scenes, and was eventually released unrated.
22. After writing the World War II horror film Below, Aronofsky began production on his third film, the romantic fantasy sci-fi drama The Fountain. The film received mixed reviews and performed poorly at the box-office, but has since garnered a cult following.
23. His fourth film, the sports drama The Wrestler, was released to critical acclaim and both of the film’s stars, Mickey Rourke and Marisa Tomei, received Academy Award nominations.
24. In 2010 Aronofsky was an executive producer on The Fighter and his fifth feature film, the psychological horror film Black Swan, received further critical acclaim and many accolades, being nominated for five Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Director and winning Best Actress for Natalie Portman’s performance in the film.
25. Aronofsky received nominations for Best Director at the Golden Globes, and a Directors Guild of America Award nomination.
26. Aronofsky’s sixth film, the biblically inspired epic Noah, was released in theaters on March 28, 2014.
27. Noah grossed over $43.7 million during its opening box office weekend, becoming Aronofsky’s highest opening weekend and his first film to open at No.1.
28. The film was an international hit, eventually grossing over $362 million worldwide.
29. Aronofsky began dating English actress Rachel Weisz in the summer of 2001, and in 2005 they were engaged. Their son, Henry Chance Aronofsky, was born on May 31, 2006, in New York City.
30. The couple resided in the East Village in Manhattan.
31. In November 2010, Weisz and Aronofsky announced that they had been apart for months, but remain close friends and are committed to raising their son together in New York.
32. In 2012, he dated Canadian film and television producer Brandi-Ann Milbradt.
33. Since September 2016, he is in a relationship with actress Jennifer Lawrence, whom he met during the filming of Mother!.
34. He said of his spiritual beliefs in 2014, “I think I definitely believe. My biggest expression of what I believe is in The Fountain”.
35. He writes his films on a custom-built desk, crafted from Bastogne walnut, an extremely valuable wood.
36. Within the desk is a wooden pipe organ, which plays with the opening of its drawers. David Blaine commented, “The desk is a very cool thing that’s a lot like Darren himself—there’s always another twist and turn.”
37. In April 2011, Aronofsky was announced as the President of the Jury for the 68th Venice International Film Festival.
38. In November 2014, Aronofsky was announced as the President of the Jury for the 65th Berlin International Film Festival, for February 2015.
39. Aronofsky is known for his environmental activism. In 2014, he traveled to the Alberta Tar Sands with the Sierra Club’s Michael Brune and Leonardo DiCaprio.
40. In 2015, he traveled to Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge with Brune, Keri Russell, and the leaders of several veterans groups.
41. He has received the Humanitarian Award from both the Humane Society of the United States and PETA.
42. In 2015, he collaborated with the artist JR on “The Standing March,” a public art installation in Paris encouraging diplomats at COP21 to take action against climate change.
43. He is a board member of The Sierra Club Foundation and The School of Field Studies.