So you’ve decided to make a Darren Aronofsky film. Congratulations! The good news is that it’s incredibly simple, although it will be important throughout the process to convince yourself that it is actually extremely complex. Without further ado, let’s get started.
STEP ONE is to identify an actress you’d like to sleep with. You’ll then set about casting her so that you can serendipitously meet during the filming of your movie, with no mention of the relentless internet stalking that led up to your casting choice. Please note that you can’t attempt this with Rachel Weisz, Jennifer Lawrence or (unconfirmed) Natalie Portman. Already been done by the master himself!
STEP TWO is to decide whether your film will be a pretentious allegory for a subject bigger than humanity itself (Pi, Noah, mother!) or a pretentious morality fable that holds a self-satisfied mirror to the wretched human condition (Requiem for a Dream, The Wrestler, Black Swan). Be forewarned: Whatever theme you choose will have to be hammered home with a 250-pound shovel, so mull it over before you pick your pretension.
STEP THREE is to get really good at jump-cut editing. It’s basically an equal substitute for story and character.
STEP FOUR is to spend a lot of money. Do you live in New York, already surrounded by water? Fly to Iceland to film your ocean scenes! Is your setting a simple rural home? Burn it down! And film it like you’re making a fourth Matrix installment.
STEP FIVE is to go back and cut in some gross-out scenes. Staple guns into the head is a great jumping off point. Pornographically violent flogging? Absolutely! Massive, oozing heroin injection wounds that paid the make-up artist’s kids’ way through college? Practically mandatory!
STEP SIX is to go back to Step Two and hammer in your theme several more times. Do not trust your audience’s comprehension of nuance! Remember, you are making a Darren Aronofsky film, not some character piece from a more subtle director like Kenneth Lonergan or Sofia Coppola or Michael Bay.
STEP SEVEN is to smell your own excrement and confidently tell yourself that it don’t stink. You’re a Darren Aronofsky filmmaker, dammit!
And that’s pretty much it! Remember: making a Darren Aronofsky film isn’t complicated; you just have to convince yourself that it is.