Requiem for a Dream (2000) Poster


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(at around 44 mins) During Ellen Burstyn's impassioned monologue about how it feels to be old, cinematographer Matthew Libatique accidentally let the camera drift off-target. When director Darren Aronofsky called "cut" and confronted him about it, he realized the reason Libatique had let the camera drift was because he had been crying during the take and fogged up the camera's eyepiece. This was the take used in the final print.
Darren Aronofsky shot the film like a hip-hop montage (a sequence of extremely short shots) to get the sense of overwhelming addiction and loss of control. An average 100-minute film contains 600 to 700 cuts; this one contains over 2,000.
Director Darren Aronofsky asked Jared Leto and Marlon Wayans to avoid sex and sugar for a period of 30 days in order to better understand an overwhelming craving.
(At around 1 hour 27 minutes) The scene where Harry and Marion talk on the phone was shot simultaneously on adjacent parts of the same set through a live phone hookup so that actual reactions could be used.
Jared Leto lost 25 lbs and befriended real heroin junkies from Brooklyn to prepare for his role as Harry Goldfarb.
In an interview with Charlie Rose, Ellen Burstyn stated that in her opinion, playing Sara Goldfarb was her best acting achievement.
Director Darren Aronofsky described this film as exploring different types of addiction: "The Harry-Tyrone-Marion story is a very traditional heroin story. But putting it side by side with the Sara story, we suddenly say, 'Oh, my God, what is a drug?' The idea that the same inner monologue goes through a person's head when they're trying to quit drugs and cigarettes, as when they're trying to not eat food so they can lose twenty pounds, was really fascinating to me."
When Ellen Burstyn first read the script offered by director Darren Aronofsky, she was horrified by it and rejected the role. It was not until after she watched a video of Pi (1998), Aronofsky's previous film, that she changed her mind and accepted the role.
In addition to having a camera mounted to her for certain sequences, Ellen Burstyn, spent four hours every morning being fitted with prosthetics, wearing four different necks (both fat and emaciated), two different fat suits (a 40-pound and 20-pound suit), and nine different wigs.
The word "heroin" is never actually said by any of the characters in the film.
The "Lux Aeterna" portion of the music composed by Clint Mansell for the Requiem for a Dream soundtrack has often been used since in many other contexts, such as trailers for other films (including The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002), The Da Vinci Code (2006), I Am Legend (2007), Man on Fire (2004), Sunshine (2007), etc.), soundtracks for video games (Total Miner: Forge, Assassin's Creed (2007)), and background music for TV programs and advertisements. It is also commonly used as promotional and/or entrance music for many different college and professional sports teams, including: the Notre Dame, Missouri State University, Boston Celtics, and Virginia Commonwealth University basketball teams; the University of Alabama and Bowdoin College football teams, Arsenal Football Club, and the England Rugby Union Team.
The Tappy Tibbons material was shot in one day, with Christopher McDonald improvising a good deal of his material. At the end, the SAG extras for the audience and the crew all gave him a standing ovation.
To get into the character of Marion, who is a dress designer, Jennifer Connelly started making clothes for herself and ended up making most of her own wardrobe.
(At around 1 hour 14 minutes) When Sara Goldfarb is on the subway and is telling strangers that she is going to be on TV, a man tells her, "You are whacked." That man was Darren Aronofsky's father.
(at around 1h 22 mins) The overhead shot of Marion in the bathtub followed by her screaming underwater was an exact replica of a scene in the Japanese animated thriller, Perfect Blue (1997). Director Darren Aronofsky secured the rights to a live-action version of the film to enable including this scene in this movie.
(At around 1 hour 3 minutes) The man peeling the orange (and the orange truck) in the scene where the characters go to receive a new shipment of drugs not only indicates their next destination, Florida, but also serves as a nod to the Godfather films, where the presence of oranges indicated disaster.
(At around 1 hour 30 minutes) The hallucination where Harry falls involved placing a camera on the end of a bungee cord and testing to make sure it could stop within inches of the ground. (It did.)
Each time after the drugs are used, it cuts to a shot of an eye with the pupil dilating. While this would be true after the speed type drug Sara was using, for heroin the exact opposite is true, the pupil should constrict. Hence heroin users are often said to have pinned eyes; their pupil shrinks to the size of pin pricks. In fact, all opiate users have pinned pupils.
Darren Aronofsky initially wanted the three main heroin addicts featured in the film (Harry, Marion, and Tyrone) to be much younger than they were in Hubert Selby Jr.'s novel and screenplay. Aronofsky felt that changing the principal characters' ages to around 14 to 16 would further demonstrate the devastating impact of drugs and lead to a greater emotional reaction from the audience. Selby agreed with the director, however the film's producers felt that American audiences would find the film too horrific if young teenagers were to experience such awful events. Selby and Aronofsky lobbied for the characters to be made younger, but producers argued that the film could not be shown in theaters if the protagonists were made out to be teens. Selby acquiesced to the point, but Aronofsky only reluctantly agreed to continue the project with the older characters.
The prop refrigerator for the hallucination scenes melted from the inside due to the light elements within.
(At around 2 minutes) In the opening scene, the sounds of a string quartet can be heard tuning up for a performance in the soundtrack. Just before the title rolls down, you hear a conductor tap on his music stand to ready the quartet for a performance. The people tuning up are the Kronos Quartet, who played most of the music for the film. The maestro bringing them to attention is Darren Aronofsky, the director.
While Tappy Tibbons mentions several times that there are three steps to his program, only two steps are ever mentioned in the film; Tappy tells his audience to avoid red meat and to avoid sugar, but Sara is always prevented from hearing the third step. Director Darren Aronofsky had intended the third step to be the removal of pharmaceuticals from the equation. The film's producers asked Aronofsky to change the third step because they were concerned that pharmaceutical companies would feel that the film's message was targeting them or encouraging people to avoid taking medication. Instead of coming up with a new third step, Aronofsky edited the footage so that Sara would either start to daydream or feel the effects of the drugs and be unable to hear the third step. In supplementary material for the film, the third thing that drives most people crazy was changed to "no orgasms."
Three out of all four of the main cast are Oscar winners: Jared Leto, Jennifer Connelly and Ellen Burstyn.
(At around 1 hour 30 minutes) Stanley B. Herman improvised the famous "ass-to-ass" line.
Dave Chappelle was offered the role of Tyrone but he turned it down.
Premiere voted this film as one of "The 25 Most Dangerous Movies."
Hubert Selby Jr. wrote the novel in 1978, when medical facilities were inadequate and often abusive and uncaring of their patients. This film doesn't mention the era it's set in, but it can be thought to be in the 1970s; ironically, the film was criticized for showing medical institutions in a bad light.
The four main characters, Sara and Harry Goldfarb, Marion Silver, and Tyrone Love, are significantly named as they turn to drugs in order to gain a better life: Sara wants to be glamorous (gold), Marion and Harry want their own business (gold/silver), and Tyrone wants a better home than what his mother provided for him (love).
When prepping for her Oscar campaign, Ellen Burstyn was being persuaded by the producers to campaign as Best Supporting Actress. Shocked by this notion, she rightfully refused. The producers felt she was guaranteed to win if she was placed in the Supporting Actress category. Eventually, Julia Roberts won for Erin Brockovich (2000), a win that caused an uproar with fans and demanded a recount from the Academy in Burstyn's favor.
The pills Sara Goldfarb takes in the film are actually Synthroid pills taken for thyroid hormone replacement for people with hypothyroidism; this is also true for the pills Marion, Tyrone and Harry take before the party.
Director Darren Aronofsky wanted Giovanni Ribisi for the role of Harry Goldfarb because he had curly blond hair, which Harry had in the novel.
Neve Campbell was the first choice for the role of Marion Silver, but declined when she found out the role required on camera nudity.
(At around 1 hour 11 minutes) During one scene in which Sara is hallucinating, her entire apartment is taken apart piece by piece as though it were the set of a television show. Several crewmembers of the mock television show pass Ellen Burstyn in her chair, including a man carrying a clip board with the Greek letter/mathematical symbol "Pi" on the back, the title of Darren Aronofsky's first film.
(At around 1 hour 16 minutes) When Marion calls Big Tim, there is a shot of his phone number on a piece of paper. It was not the standard "555-" number used in movies. They were able to get away with this because only six digits of the phone number are visible. However, if you listen carefully, Tyrone does speak all seven digits. But after the scene where Harry is with the doctor, Marion turns over the photograph of her and Harry, revealing the full telephone number.
Included among the "1,001 Movies You Must See Before You Die," edited by Steven Schneider.
Jared Leto stated in an interview with Rolling Stone that he would shoot up water while hanging around real-life junkies, and he said shooting up anything was intense and he would never do it again.
(At around 1 hour 23 minutes) Sarah's nurse sticking out her tongue as she prepares the hypodermic shot was an improvisation.
Marion (Jennifer Connelly)'s father worked in the garment industry. Jennifer Connelly's father also is in the garment industry.
Mr. Rabinowitz is named after the film's editor Jay Rabinowitz.
Keith David and Peter Maloney both appeared in 'The Thing' (1982).
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Hubert Selby Jr.: (at around 1 hour 30 minutes) The author and co-scriptwriter makes a brief cameo as one of the prison officers supervising Tyrone.

Director Cameo 

Darren Aronofsky: appears very briefly as one of the visitors in Big Tim's gathering.


The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

According to director Darren Aronofsky, Tyrone is the only person capable of reclaiming his life. This can be seen in his last scene: in prison, he recalls memories of his mother fondly.
(At around 1 hour 35 minutes) In each character's last scene, in reality they turn onto their right side and pull their knees up to their stomach, assuming the fetal position.

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