Darren Aronofsky burst onto the scene in 1998 with “Pi,” the most bizarrely original debut since David Lynch’s “Eraserhead,” and a film he self-funded by hitting up an extended circle of family and friends for small donations. He confirmed his talent with “Requiem For A Dream,” a visually inventive adaptation of Hubert Selby Jr.’s novel about NYC junkies. That film also earned an Oscar nomination for Ellen Burstyn, which resulted in Hollywood calling. Aronofsky wound up with the “Batman” franchise in his hands for a while, but it eventually landed with Christopher Nolan instead. Brad Pitt bailed on “The Fountain,” which left the project in limbo for years, but Aronofsky finally got it made with Hugh Jackman and his partner Rachel Weisz in the leads — it proved too “cosmic” for most critics and audiences, but can expect a long life on the cult shelf. “The Wrestler,” perhaps the straightest film Aronofsky has made so far, thus represents a comeback for him as much as for Mickey Rourke. The Japan Times spoke with one of our favorite directors about his film.

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