December 3, 2012

It’ll be awhile before Darren Aronofsky’s biblical epic, Noah, comes out—the release date at the moment is in 2014. But until then, the Black Swan director is using Twitter to tickle fans’ interest. “I get the whole idea of teasing people, showing them something that’s kind of cool but not giving away too much,” Aronofsky said yesterday at the Marrakesh International Film Festival, where he’s one of a trio of high-profile American directors (along with James Gray and Jonathan Demme) making the rounds.

Aronofsky has tweeted updates and photos from sets in New York and Iceland in recent months, and his star, Russell Crowe, has been doing the same. “I think the studio was nervous, but I wanted this. I kind of feel if you don’t sort of get involved with some type of social media, you’re getting left behind at this point,” the director explained, adding that the success of Louis C.K., a longtime friend and an expert at wielding social media, was a motivating influence.

With his Twitter account, Aronofsky also has a new way to address his critics—maybe one critic in particular. He’s clearly got a beef with Variety writer Leslie Felperin, who trashed The Fountain in the influential trade paper way back in 2006. The movie turned out to be the one notable flop to date in Aronofsky’s otherwise pretty solid oeuvre.

“[For] The Fountain we had a very unromantic writer,” is how Aronofsky put it yesterday, without referring to Felperin by name.  “I shouldn’t talk bad about her. [But] she gave us a really bad review for Variety, and it actually put us in a tailspin when we already had really good reviews from the Internet.”

Things are arguably different now: waves of online positivity can trump negative treatment in the big print outlets. But the Variety review stung for different reasons. “Not only did she attack the film, she attacked me. People in social media attack you for everything you’ve done, that happens all the time. But a critic should be focused on what’s at hand, not attack someone’s career and say their past films are overrated and say they have no ability. She clearly had an issue with me as a person and what I was putting out there as my stories. So that bothered me. And so probably if I ever met her, it wouldn’t be a good day,” Aronofsky said.  As it happens, Felperin has a Twitter account—maybe the two of them can hash it out in public?

Looking back on other past work, Aronofsky said he was happy to have worked with Mickey Rourke when he did. “Luckily I got him when he was down and out of luck, on the bottom. I didn’t have to deal with him when he was coming out with Iron Man 2,” he joked. And Aronofsky’s one major regret with his smash-hit Black Swan seems to be on the business front. “I missed out big on Halloween. It was all black swans, and the fact that I didn’t actually manufacture those costumes and sell them!”

For now, Noah is the focus—and, for the director whose dropped projects include Batman, Robocop, and  the upcoming Wolverine—it will be the first time he’s managed to bring something this large-scale to the screen. “It’s not a superhero film—there’s no superpowers—but it’s very much a similar thing,” Aronofsky conceded. The visual-effects phase of the production is about to begin, an area in which Ang Lee’s recent Life of Pi has raised the bar. “I like Life of Pi,” Aronofsky said. “It’s very different, but they’re similar because there’s animals and water.”

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