Mr. Aronofsky grew up on that little peninsula in south Brooklyn known as Manhattan Beach. “It was great because as a peninsula it was really kind of a neighborhood unto itself,” he said. “So a lot of my closest friends are guys I grew up with, you know; I’ve been friends with guys I’ve known since nursery school that I still hang out with.”
He likes to say his real education was as a biologist. He dropped science after high school — where his dad was the science teacher — and enrolled in film classes freshman year at Harvard. He hooked up with an advanced field studies summer program, saw those seals in Alaska, followed that with Africa. He is, despite his lighthearted demeanor, a serious dude.
His experiences studying man’s footprint on mother earth did not get in the way of procreating with the lovely Ms. Weisz. She had a natural birth, no drugs, with their son, Henry; Mr. Aronofsky was by her side every second of it. It was the most incredible experience of his life. He thinks that for his wife, it was a psychedelic experience.
On a typical day: “I usually get up with my son. If I’m not working, I’ll wake up with my son and you know, usually, uh, now it’s changing his diaper. And then making some breakfast for us and then we’ll play, and then eventually I’ll take him for a walk. And when I’m taking a shower, he’ll play outside the shower.” Dad will try to fit in some creative work but before you know it! “Bath time shows up, and then dinner and then he goes to sleep. And then I get a couple of hours to be with my wife. And that’s it. That’s your day. Your days get very regimented. You know, if you’re not there in the morning, you want to be there at night. And then on the weekends, I try to spend the whole weekend with my son, as much as I can.”
He’s experienced a fusion of his environmental passions with the passions of being a father.
“The way you perceive kids is, you see yourself in their shoes, you see these other kids, and it makes me so much more furious at the selfish present moment, thinking of people in power, especially the people who run our government. You just can’t imagine how they can’t see that protecting wildlife and the environment is an important issue. The greed of right now, and the selfishness of that, and thinking that, well, if I do that, someone else won’t be doing it to me. It’s just that pack mentality, which is just destroying everything. It’s amazing that those people are parents and many of them grandparents. That to me is shocking. Go look, you know, every plastic bottle I use is gonna be here for the next 10,000 years, What the hell are we thinking?
“I think in my heart I’m a loner,” he said. “I really enjoy my time alone, as I enjoy my time with my family. But I think you can be lonely even when you’re surrounded by a lot of people.”
Mr. Aronofsky’s greatest hope right now is that as many people as possible turn out to see The Wrestler. So what does it mean to be a man, anyway?
“I dunno. I think being a father, writing a book and building a house, those are your three jobs. And then you can die.”
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