Where Is Darren Aronofsky’s ‘Black Swan’?

Published 4 years ago by , Updated February 15th, 2014 at 4:29 pm,

We have not reported much on the Darren Aronofsky supernatural thriller Black Swan because, well, there hasn’t been much to report. The film has been in post-production since early February and we are still waiting on a release date.

I read the script a few months ago. After all, the buzz surrounding the film was intriguing. The two stars, Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis, were to engage in a heated embrace – destined to get audiences in a frenzy. On the merit of that rumor, and my own personal admiration for Darren Aronofsky’s writing, I flew through the screenplay in less than an hour and wanted to read it again.

Black Swan deals with some serious issues of rivalry and jealousy. At times, it reminds you of Christopher Nolan’s The Prestige. In addition to the rivalry, it also finds a way to connect the audience with ballerinas. Many felt magic was a laughable profession until The Prestige showed a more serious side. Black Swan finds a way to do the same for ballet.

Take this movie seriously. The story is riveting, exciting and definitely controversial. Yet, amidst all that hype, it is grounded in a sort of dramatic world that is believable and engaging. So, how can a script that produces so many positive adjectives still be in the shadows of Hollywood?

I understand that Black Swan is not Thor or Batman 3. There are no hordes of fans itching to learn the next bit of information about the film – but that may be Fox Searchlight’s fault. Do they not realize what a gem they’ve got on their hands? Why has the production company not released any information on the film besides the generic listings on IMDb?

The obvious assumptions come to mind – editing problems, budget fiasco, re-shoots, etc. After all, Aronfosky is no stranger to production holdups. Brad Pitt was supposed to star in The Fountain before creative differences and a contract holdout halted production. Hugh Jackman joined the project, saved the day and now the film is as cherished as it is hated.

But the point is, we have yet to hear a single word uttered about Black Swan. While it may have the skin of an independent drama, it has the actors and writing of a movie people will talk about well into awards season. There is still a good six months left in 2010. It shouldn’t take more than two of those to promote this film. But I find it hard to believe the team behind Black Swan can announce a date and garner the interest necessary to release an acclaimed film.

What do you think of Black Swan? Are you aching for a late-2010 release? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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  1. I agree totally last I heard it was meticulously being edited by Aronfosky I think I definately would want him to take his time and produce a quality product yet I want it out for the award season. I too read the script several times and it was a page turner.

    Portman and Kunis are perfectly cast for their characters. As well as Ryder etc…I know he changed the script but the basic core story remains intact.

  2. You might be overreacting a bit Mike. It’s a small (10-12 million) budget independent film. It is not going to get the attention, regardless of the absurd focus on the sexual aspect of the story.

    What I have heard is Aronofsky tried to edit it to make Caan and just could not get it done that quickly. Now it is supposedly going to debut at either the Venice or Toronto film festivals, which are in September. He took The Wrestler to Venice, so I’m betting that is probably what will happen with Black Swan. I then expect it to have a very limited release probably in December, and then a wider release in January….again, just like what he did with The Wrestler.

    • Good call. Yea, I know a whole article seems like an overreaction, but I’m not exactly beating my head against the wall over this. There’s still a lot of time. I have just been thinking about it and we haven’t reported much on it. I want to get that story out there to you loyal readers and get some feedback, essentially. It’s the best script I’ve read in a while and I’m really looking forward to it.

      That would make perfect sense about Cannes. But I really don’t think this movie is going to struggle for attention. Portman is a good draw. Kunis as well. If they promote it right, and lay off the sex scene, they will do good by themselves. Let the critics and the reviews spread the news about the sex scene.

      If anything, The Fountain has ruined Aronofsky’s chances at a mass promotional campaign for this small film. We love Aronofsky, but studios apparently do not.

  3. I too am eagerly anticipating this film and want the best for it since The Wrestler is one of my all time favorites. A release around November sounds about right for this film, since The Wrestler was released around there as well.
    Question: Where exactly did you guys get the script?

  4. Mike, don’t get me wrong, I’m THRILLED you are writing about it and talking about it. I look for news on the film all the time, so I’m glad you brought it up. I read an early draft of the script as well.

    I realize scripts go through many revisions and re-writes, but I thought it had great potential. I just got a little frustrated with the massive attention to the details of the sex scene that the blogs focused on because I felt it was a disservice to Aronofsky, Natalie and Mila. The story is about much more then that, and that aspect of the story is quite secondary in my opinion. I get that sex sells, but it was still overkill.

    I totally agree with you that Portman and Kunis are a strong draw and I’m excited to see them work with Aronofsky. I just hope Fox Searchlight truly promotes it and gives it a chance to be seen. Like you said, this isn’t a blockbuster. I will be suprised if it does as much as The Wrestler and that only did 26 million domestically. But I want it to be given a chance.

    • I totally agree, Brian. I got the script because it was Aronofsky, but I read it with anticipation of that scene (admittedly so). When it came to be, it was absolutely breathtaking. But I found it to be crucial to the character development and beautifully played out. I think that is a major scene in the film for Portman’s character and not just a sexual romp to excite the fellas.

      But the last 20 pages are where it really became an Oscar-winning film in my opinion. Or maybe 2nd place to Inception :)

      • Mike, we remain in agreement. :)

        When I read an early draft of the script, and in particular that scene, what I liked the most about it was that it was not gratuitous, and it fit within the balance of the story. It wasn’t just unnecessarily thrown in to get a reaction. It does play a central part in the development of the Portman character and what she is going through.

  5. I can’t wait for Black Swan myself! Not for the ballet aspect of it by any means, but the great Darren Aronofsky is back at the helm. Requiem for a Dream and The Wrestler…two of the top 50 movies of all-friggin-time! So whatever he does from now on will get me into the theater. Can’t wait for the trailer!

    JD

  6. Aronofsky is one of most original filmmakers working today. What he did with “The Wrestler” was nearly miraculous. And I love wrestling as much as I love ballet (& soccer & accidentally stapling myself).
    I want to see it badly, but not badly bad. I can wait until he has the movie he wants to release.

    • JAB, like the way you put that :)
      Anxious to see the finished product, but happy he does not seem to be too pushed to rush it out.

      Mike Glad to see you’ve read the script, and think the sex scene was crucial. Personally I was disipointed when I heard about it, as it seemed to me that without it this movie could attract a wide variaty of viewers, some of who would be turned away if too much focus was placed on it.

  7. I am Looking forwaed to learning more about this.
    I hadnt heard much about it until now.

  8. could you do a story on robocop??? I want to know what’s happening to that too!

  9. The Fountain was fantastic, it was like watching real art.

  10. I don’t know why but I’m am kind of obsessed with this movie. At LEAST once a month I google like crazy trying to find info on it. Maybe its because mila kunis is my favorite actress, maybe its because the movie is soo too secret, maybe its because I know that some people have read the script when I haven’t. Who knows. All I know is I’m going to see this movie on opening day! Btw, how do you people get the script to read mila said it was under lock and that she didn’t even read it til she was on set. I think some of you are lying. . .

    • I’m not an insider like I am sure Mike is, but the way I saw the script is an early version, that had been written by Mark Heyman in March of 2009 was posted as a pdf on a website several months ago. It’s always possible it was an elaborate ruse, but somebody went to great detail to make it look real if it is. The pdf file was taken down very quickly as I am sure somebody was none too happy it was out there.

      I am very sure the script has gone through several re-writes and changes by Aronofsky since that draft, but I will still be very curious when I see the film how it compares. I’ll know really quickly how real the version I saw was. But I think it was legitmate.

  11. I finally got through to Protozoa Pictures (Aronofsky’s production company) and they responded firmly:

    Me: I am inquiring about Black Swan, Aronofsky’s upcoming project…
    Aronofsky’s Assistant: Yes (she says with a nice tone)
    Me: Does that have a release date or will one be announced soon? I am curious as to the stage of the production.
    Aronofsky’s Assistant: (instantly) No, no. No, sorry.

  12. I’ve been waiting for the release of this film since The Wrestler…I’ve been following Darren’s blog, where he teases us with pictures of his team working on post-production. I’ve made it a point to get my friends and family excited for this film as well, considering Aronofsky is one of the best filmmakers of his generation.

    …That is all.

    • What’s his blog?

  13. I know! I’ve been checking for news about this since i first learned of the movie. I mean, winona ryder’s gonna be in it, natalie portman (whose films are always well chosen) is in it, and it’s supposed to accurately portray ballet! it couldn’t get much better, and we’re still waiting for it. i just hope it doesn’t stay canned, it would be such a shame.

  14. hey, goin to a screening on thursday!

  15. Mike, I’m sure you saw this, but it looks like it will be making its debut at Venice.

    http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118021995.html?categoryid=13&cs=1&ref=vertfilm