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Quint at Comic-Con: THE FOUNTAIN panel with Darren Aronofsky and Rachel Weisz!!!

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with a look at Darren Aronofsky's THE FOUNTAIN from Comic-Con 2005.

Aronofsky appeared on the WB panel this morning alongside his woman and co-star of THE FOUNTAIN, Rachel Weisz to premiere a trailer and show the first 10 minutes of THE FOUNTAIN.

Aronofsky was funny, sharp and had a great banter with the audience. Here are some tidbits from the Q&A with Weisz and Aronofsky!

TIDBITS

-One guy came up to the mic during the Q&A and announced to the room that he ran a website and wanted everybody to go to this site (wasn't me, honest injun). This person got booed by the audience and answered whatever BS question attached to the plug, then quickly followed that up with, "And let's all promise to NOT go to that website!" To much cheering.

-This film is a $90 million budget film shot for $35 million (his words).

-When talking about the impressive rigging set up for a certain shot that was supposed to skim the top of a shallow pool of water: "The scaffolding was more expensive than PI."

-Weisz on her reaction reading the script for the first time: "My mind was blown and I sobbed. I sobbed for hours."

-Kent Williams put together a graphic novel adaptation of THE FOUNTAIN... but in a completely different way than is usually done. After the first attempt to make the movie didn't happen because a certain un-named big actor that is definitely not the one in TROY or MR. AND MRS. SMITH or 12 MONKEYS dropped out, Aronofsky was sure the movie would never be made, so he gave the OK to Kent Williams to adapt the script as a graphic novel.

So, this graphic novel was either entirely completed or mostly completed before the film was put back into production. It'll be it's own thing, not a standard comic movie adaptation. Neat, huh?

-The whole film was shot on a soundstage in Montreal.

-Clint Mansell (REQUEM FOR A DREAM) is scoring the picture.

-The main cultural influence on the film is Mayan Mysticism.

****SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT****

-Best back and forth between Darren and Rachel: (On why she wanted to play the female lead in the movie) "I get to play a Queen in the 16th Century, I get to play a ghost in the future..." turns to Darren, "Can I say that?" Immediately, he says, "No." She stopped there.

****END SPOILER ALERT! END SPOILER ALERT****

-Darren Aronofsky: "Warner Bros doesn't know what the hell to do with this film."

CLIP & TRAILER

I can understand why Warner Bros is afraid of the movie. It seems pretty complex and is, at it's heart, a love story. The trailer they cut isn't completely standard, but it'll play to most audiences. It doesn't answer any questions, though. That might be a problem for some people. I love a trailer that makes me want to see the rest of the story and here there is no real sense of a standard structure for people easily peg. There is no, "Ah, it's that kind of movie" grab in the trailer. I think it's courageous of Warner Bros to not try to improperly sell the movie as something it isn't, but I can see why they're nervous.

The clip was the opening 10 minutes of the movie. The opening clearly sets up the three different eras in the movie: the 16th Century conquistador time period, the now time period and the future. All three eras have Hugh Jackman, I believe, searching for the fountain of youth.

The Past:

This was my favorite part of the 10 minutes. Jackman as a conquistador was very cool and this had the most drama. Jackman is the leader of a rugged group that is starting to turn on him. Their comrades have died in their leader's unending quest and they decide to abandon him. Of course, Jackman overhears this and confronts the men about it. At this point an old priest runs into the tent proclaiming that he's "found the temple" and shows a strange dagger.

As Jackman is attending to the exhausted priest, the leader of the mutiny pulls this fucked up looking half sledgehammer, half-battle-ax looking thing and makes a swing at Jackman's neck. The old priest reacts and Jackman ducks out of the way, avoiding the blow... however the old priest is right there waiting to receive it. In a splash of blood, the priest is down and Jackman battles, quickly taking out the leader of the mutiny and two of the 4 remaining men. The last two put down their weapons and promise to stay by his side.

When Jackman gets back to the priest, he sees the man is dying. Before he dies, the priest tells Jackman where the temple is.

We get flashes of Jackman tenderly handling a leather package. He opens it to reveal a gold ring. There are flashes of Rachel Weisz in Queenly attire giving the ring to him.

Then we're with Jackman again as he's heading to the temple with his two remaining soldiers. They enter this stone corridor (very Mayan) and spot a sort of Shaman at the end of the corridor. They advance and their retreat is cut off by a crude looking wooden gate. They approach the lone figure and suddenly see a horde of warriors with spears and wooden beat-down sticks (I think that's the scientific term for these old weapons).

Of course the two soldiers with Jackman drop their weapons and run for the gate. Jackman heads on, determined to get whatever is in the heart of this temple. The warriors chuck the spears which all fly over Jackman's head and terribly hit the two running soldiers as they approach and are climbing the wooden gate. This part was particularly brutal, especially the dude that got stuck twice. He got hurt then he got hurt more.

Jackman charges in, taking out about a half a dozen warriors before coming under their blows. I don't know if he's killed (I don't think so... I believe there's a still out there of him being held, unconscious, above these warriors), but he's certainly going to feel these lumps in the morning.

The Present:

A modern Jackman jerks out of bed, wakening from a nightmare... Most of the present stuff we see is Jackman in bed with Rachel Weisz, kissing the back of her neck. It's an obviously loving couple.

The Future:

Starts off with a bald Jackman in a meditation position (which is actually him, I was told later... he had been taking these meditation courses for 6 months, which allowed him to be limber enough to get that classic legs crossed, feet up above the knees position). He opens his eyes and we see he is floating. He flips backwards and drops down a couple dozen feet in front of a big tree... with hair on it. Not furry Chewbacca hair, but hair like the kind you have on the back of your neck.

He's in this bubble looking thing that is shooting through space. There is room enough in the bubble for the tree, a plot of grass and foliage and himself. He whispers to the tree (if I remember correctly he says something like, "We're almost there.") and when his fingers get near the bark the hairs on the tree stand as a rubber balloon will make fuzz stand up on the carpet or your hair stand up from your head.

Then we see a glimpse of Rachel Weisz stepping out onto the grass and they look at each other.

That's about it. 10 minutes of the movie and no answers, only more questions. Aronofsky asked if people liked it. He got loud cheers and applause. He asked if people understood it all. He was got a kind of polite clapping. "Good," he said. "That's why there's 90 more minutes for you to understand the story."

I'm intrigued. Weisz is gorgeous and Aronofsky hasn't failed me so far. We're promised a completely different side of Jackman in this film and being that I never caught any of his theater work, which I heard was amazing, I'm really looking forward to see him shrug off Wolverine and finally have a successful turn in a non-mutant movie.

Speaking of, Jackman recorded a "thanks for coming" video message for the Con and took the piss out of the room a bit. "I'm here to present a movie that I'm really, really proud of... It's probably the best thing I've ever been involved with. We're doing amazing things with X3 and I think you..." looks off camera. "What? The what? Fountain? Ohhhhh." The crowd ate it up.

Anyway, I'm exhausted and have my busiest day ahead of me, so I'm going to do one more report and hit the sack.

Be back soon!

-Quint





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