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The Fountain (2006) Poster

(2006)

Trivia

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Instead of using CGI, Darren Aronofsky chose to do the visual effects for the film by using micro-photography of chemical reactions on tiny petri dishes. He has said that CGI would take away from the timelessness of the film, and that he wants the film to stand the test of time.
Of the seventy extras cast as Mayan warriors, twenty were actual Mayans flown in from Guatemala. Fernando Hernandez, who played the Lord of Xibalba, was the only one who could speak English. Before shooting at the Mayan pyramid, the Mayan actors blessed the set.
Warner Bros. refused to do a director's commentary for the DVD release, so Darren Aronofsky recorded one in his living room and released it on his website.
Rachel Weisz and Hugh Jackman agreed to work on the film at a reduced rate.
In early 2002, Darren Aronofsky cast Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett in the central leads of Tom and Izzi with a budget of 75 million dollars. During pre-production, Pitt and Aronofsky were having major creative differences, so Pitt left to film Troy (2004) instead, and the film was shut down, and the sets and props built in Australia were auctioned off. In early 2004, with a smaller budget of 35 million dollars, Aronofsky cast Hugh Jackman as Tom and Rachel Weisz replaced Blanchett as Izzi. Warner Bros., who had invested 20 million dollars in the canceled version, agreed to finance the new, cheaper version.
Tom's last name is "Creo" which means "I believe", "I think" or "I create" in Spanish. His wife Izzi Creo, is named after the Spanish phrase "Y sí, creo," which means "And yes, I do believe".
Darren Aronofsky did not shave his beard till production was finished, a tradition he started while shooting Pi (1998).
Hugh Jackman had to shave off all of the hair on his head and chest for scenes in the last third of the movie.
The score, composed by Clint Mansell, is played by the Kronos Quartet and the Scottish rock band Mogwai.
When the first version of the script was shelved, and production was halted Darren Aronofsky rewrote the script, and re-envisioned the film. The first version of the script was turned into a graphic novel illustrated by Kent Williams, and released as a soft-cover and limited edition hardback book. The final version of the film, with its reduced budget and new leading cast, made extensive use of unique non-CGI visual effects to save on production costs, and give the picture a more "organic" feel.
Aronofsky approached Hugh Jackman backstage during his performance of "The Boy From Oz". The next day, the actor agreed to star in the film.
The film takes place in the 16th century, in 2005, and in 2500.
The group of stars that appear in the movie is the Orion constellation, and the Xibalba Nebula is known in astronomy jargon as Messier 42, M42, NGC 1976, or Orion Nebula, located at 1,270 light-years approximately from the Earth.
A piano and vocal interpretation of Clint Mansell's "Stay with Me" theme was originally recorded for the end credits, with Justin Skomarovsky on piano and Antony Hegarty (of the group Antony and the Johnsons) on vocal. Director Darren Aronofsky, though satisfied with the piano arrangement, didn't feel that Antony's lyrics consummately reflected the film's message and narrative. Ultimately, Aronofsky discarded the song and opted instead to record Skomarovsky's piano arrangement with veteran Hollywood pianist Randy Kerber.
To prepare for her role, Rachel Weisz read books and diaries about terminally ill people, and visited hospitals to see terminally ill people.
Hugh Jackman assumed a different posture for each persona:
  • As Tomas the conquistador, Jackman was upright and forward-leaning to evoke an unstoppable nature.
  • As the scientist, Jackman hunched his back to represent carrying a burden
  • As the space traveler, Jackman practiced zen/yoga postures to represent resignation.
The film incorporates a series of visual motifs:
  • each era is uses different shape designs: the past has triangular designs, the present has oblong designs and the future has circular designs
  • the main colors in the film are gold (wealth and beauty, materialistic but hollow), white (truth and mortality), silver (space and stars), and green and red (nature, respectively life and death)
  • Tom in all eras moves from darkness into the light throughout the film, representing his movement from darkness into light. Izzy is already covered in light in all her scenes.
The film draws from Jewish Kabbalah, Mayan mythology, space travel and brain surgery research.
Darren Aronofsky originally planned a major battle between the Mayans and the Conquistadors, but budget cuts and the release of grand epic battle films (Peter Jackson's "Lord of the Ring" films, Troy (2004) and King Arthur (2004)) made him change his mind and rewrite be mainly between Tomas Verde and the Mayans. Aronfsky realized that this worked out better: one man against the army represented a man defying odds.
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Darren Aronofsky started on the story in 1999, when he turned 30 years old and his parents were diagnosed with cancer. He had began reflecting on human mortality: "That was a really heavy-duty emotional time. Turning thirty marks when your twenties are over and you could start considering, one of these days I'm actually going to die." His parents overcame cancer, and he began to focus on the concept of a young man saving a loved one from a life-threatening disease.
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According to director Darren Aronofsky, the film is inspired by the philosophical sci-fi films 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), The Matrix (1999), Latin-American writer Eduardo Galeano's fantasy story "Memories of Fire", and the epic biography-fairytale Once Upon a Time in America (1984).
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Hugh Jackman recommended Darren Aronofsky cast Rachel Weisz in the film. Aronofsky and Weisz were in a relationship at the time, and so Aronofsky was against favoritism. But with Jackman's earnest recommendation, he consented to cast Weisz.
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The rainforest setting was inspired by the jungle location of Tikal, Guatemala and the films Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972) and The Holy Mountain (1973).
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Mark Margolis, who plays Father Avila, plays Mendoza in The Pit and the Pendulum (1991), another film about the Spanish Inquisition.
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Spoilers 

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

The film opens with the Biblical phrase Genesis 3:24, which states that the Tree of Life is guarded by a cherub wielding a flaming sword. The Mayan high priest in the movie also guards the tree of life, wielding a flaming sword.
The scene where Tommy walks out of the hospital in complete silence is very similar to a scene in Akira Kurosawa's, Ikiru (1952): both characters walk out in silence to convey the shock of the previous scene, and both are startled by the sudden appearance of the sights and sounds of the busy city street.
Tomas the conquistador dies by having plants break out from his body. This is based on Mayan mythology, where butterflies and flowers are said to emerge from the bodies of brave warriors. The filmmakers left out the butterflies to save on VFX.
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