Born: 12 February 1969
Birthplace: New York, New York
Best known as: The Oscar-nominated director of Black Swan
Darren Aronofsky went from indie film hero to outcast and back to hero again in his first decade of filmmaking, before being Oscar-nominated as best director for his 2010 film Black Swan. Darren Aronofsky began making short films as a student at Harvard, and after graduation in 1991 he earned an M.F.A. in Directing (1994) from the American Film Institute. His 1998 film Pi combined math and madness on a budget of $60,000, and was a film festival hit. It set the stage for Requiem for a Dream (2000), a drug-addict drama that was hailed by critics. Darren Aronofsky looked like a rising star. But his next film, the time-shifting sci-fi melodrama The Fountain (2006, with Hugh Jackman), took four years to complete and then flopped. (The film was booed at the Venice Film Festival and called a "flatulent dissertation on the benefits of dying" by The Hollywood Reporter.) Aronofsky was suddenly on the outs in Hollywood, but he bounced back in 2008 with The Wrestler, a sweaty and intense hit that also marked a comeback for Mickey Rourke. Next came Black Swan, the claustrophobic ballet psychodrama starring Natalie Portman as a prima ballerina who goes nuts while preparing to dance in "Swan Lake." Natalie Portman and Darren Aronofsky both were nominated for Oscars, as was the film itself.
Extra credit: Darren Aronofsky's grandparents came from Russia, he told the Moscow Times in 2011... He dated the actress Rachel Weisz from 2002 until they split in 2010. Their son, Henry, was born in 2006... Darren Aronofsky's Harvard degree is in Social Anthropology, he told the Harvard Crimson in 2000.
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