Speaking to The Economist Radio on Thursday, Darren Aronofsky opened up about the challenges of working with method actors following his most recent encounter on the set of mother!, wherein he reportedly witnessed Jennifer Lawrence become “emotionally overwhelmed” by the material.
The shooting schedule and experience on set was said to be emotionally intense and physically draining for Lawrence, who was cast in the lead role of Aronofsky’s cinematic nightmare alongside Javier Bardem, Ed Harris, and Michelle Pfeiffer.
At the U.K. premiere of the movie in September, the 27-year-old actress revealed to the Daily Mail that she sustained a serious injury while shooting a dramatic scene for the horror movie.
“I tore my diaphragm for hyperventilating. People thought I was beaten up so [I] want to clear it up that I did it to myself. It was my own doing.”
In response to these claims, 49-year-old Aronofsky suggested that it was Jennifer’s apparent “loss of control” that caused the internal damage and explained how he had actually encouraged her to “pull back” on her performance to avoid such incidents.
“I wasn’t pushing Jennifer on that day,” he said.
“I was pulling her back, [encouraging her] to remember that we were just making a movie…”
He went on to say that he preferred not to work with method actors.
“I work best with actors who, basically, when you say cut, it’s over and the emotion is gone, and when I say action, they’re able to go deep into it,” he admitted.
Later in the discussion, however, Aronofsky acknowledged that pushing boundaries to find emotions and go to places that are “extreme” can be an important part of acting, though he revealed that he had never witnessed this level of intensity before.
“I’ve never had that situation where an actor was so emotionally… um… overwhelmed by the material that they lost control and hurt themselves.”
He added that safety was “the first and most important part of his set.”
Jennifer Lawrence and Darren Aronofsky began dating shortly before the movie went into production, but tensions reportedly started to rise ahead of the release of mother!, which opened to mixed reviews from audiences and critics alike.
During an interview with Variety in November, Jennifer opened up about how the movie’s negative reviews impacted her relationship with the director, who was reportedly obsessed with the critical response.
“We’d be on the [mother! press] tour together, I’d come back to the hotel and the last thing I want to talk about or think about is the movie, and he comes back and that’s all he wants to talk about.”
“I was doing double duty of trying to be a supportive partner while also being like, ‘Can I please, for the love of God, not think about mother! for one second?'” the actress confessed.
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, the high-profile pair ended their one-year relationship toward the end of last year.