Darren Aronofsky Tells Howard the Movie He’s Most Proud Of

Director of "The Wrestler" also tells Howard about his decision to cast Mickey Rourke

December 18, 2008
Photo: AP

Darren Aronofsky called in to promote his latest film, “The Wrestler,” and Howard told him it was one of the best films of the year. Darren thanked Howard and told him he never thought he’d end up becoming a filmmaker.

“I didn’t touch a camera until I was in college,” Darren said.

Howard wondered how Darren broke into Hollywood and Darren explained he managed to make his first feature “Pi” for less than $60,000 – it went on to make eight figures worldwide. Next, Darren directed 2000’s “Requiem for a Dream,” starring Jennifer Connelly. Howard asked if he and Jennifer ever dated but Darren refused to answer.

“I can’t cross that line … I wish I could tell you,” he told Howard.

Artie referenced one of Jennifer’s most infamous scenes in the film, and Darren explained that cinematic moment took all night to shoot. “When we were done, my DP turned to me and said, ‘That’s the most f’ed up thing we’ve ever done,'” Darren said, adding Jennifer almost backed out until he was able to convince her the film needed to go into “the darkest places” in order to be successful.

Co-host Robin Quivers admitted she wasn’t a huge fan of Darren’s third film, “The Fountain,” but Darren replied it was the work he’s most proud of. “It’s worth a second viewing, Robin,” he told her.

Howard then talked to Darren about casting Mickey Rourke in “The Wrestler.” Darren said he could have had a $19 million budget with Nicolas Cage or a $6 million budget with Mickey.

“I was just very straight with [Mickey]. I said, ‘I’m doing this for you,'” Darren recalled for Howard.

Artie Lange asked Darren if his own ill-fated audition for a smaller role in “The Wrestler” was an elaborate joke to get back at him for poking fun at Darren while the two were at a party in L.A. in the ’90s. Darren said he didn’t even remember the incident, much less ever arrange for a vengeful audition. “The issue was that you’re too recognizable,” Darren told Artie. “You’d pop out of the crowd … that’s why there’s no other famous wrestlers in the movie.”

“All my representatives will love you for that answer,” Artie said with a laugh.