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THE FOUNTAIN

About The Production
At once sweeping and intimate, "The Fountain” is a story about love and coping with mortality, which unfolds over three vastly different time periods. Filmmaker Darren Aronofsky got the idea for his screenplay when he realized that, although many cultures have stories about the quest for eternal life, relatively few films have been made about the search for the Fountain of Youth.

"The desire to live forever is deep in our culture. Every day people are looking for ways to extend life or feel younger,” suggests Aronofsky. "Just look at the popularity of shows like ‘Extreme Makeover' or ‘Nip/Tuck.' People are praying to be young and often denying that death is a part of life. Hospitals spend huge sums of money trying to keep people alive. But we've become so preoccupied with sustaining the physical that we often forget to nurture the spirit. So that's one of the central themes I wanted to deal with in the film: Does death make us human, and if we could live forever, would we lose our humanity?”

To construct a story that could effectively communicate that theme would require an innovative concept. "What started out as a rough sketch on a restaurant napkin back in 1999 has been through many incarnations,” says the writer/director.

"Darren had this idea of a box-within-a-box-within-a-box-structure before we even knew the name of our lead character,” expands producer Eric Watson.

Indeed Aronofsky found himself inspired. "I'd wake up in the middle of the night and look at my stacks of research and think, ‘I have to make this film; it's in my blood.'”

Aronofsky designed a tale that would unfold in three distinct eras. But with so many incarnations of the Fountain of Youth existing throughout history and mythology, he had to consider which one would best represent the film's ideologies. Co-story collaborator Ari Handel explains, "As we started to conceive the story we researched Mayan culture. We looked at the Bible, too, and found that, in many narratives, the Fountain of Youth is embodied by something living, something organic or nourishing.”

With that in mind, Aronofsky created the film's Tree of Life, which serves as the Fountain of Youth in the conquistador's story. In the 26th century, Tom is traveling to Xibalba, a distant nebula, which becomes the film's futuristic version of the Fountain.

"One of the first things that attracted me to this script was the spirituality of it,” notes producer Iain Smith. "And because that spirituality isn't specific to any one belief system, it translates into a kind of magic.”

As the various mythologies combine, a new myth is created, one that is both otherworldly and familiar by design.

With a solid thematic guide established, Aronofsky set out to design the motivation of a character who would passionately pursue the Fountain. Thomas Creo, as conquistador, scientist and astronaut has a singular drive and passion. But to tell the story of a man who refuses to accept his fate, or the fate of those he loves, would present a unique challenge. "It's difficult to tell a story about the quest for immortality in the present alone. That's why Thomas' story takes place in the 16th, 21st and 26th centuries,” says Aronofsky, who goes on to qualify, "but ‘The Fountain' isn't a time travel movie in a traditional way. It's more like three interlocking time periods, where the characters embody three different parts of the same person.”

Although the thousand-year span makes Thomas' tale epic in scope, time is also his greatest enemy. All three of the film's stories deal with a race against the clock for the sake of love. Tomas the conquistador is charged with finding the Fountain of Youth to protect his Queen from a vengeful enemy who has sworn to destroy her. Tommy the scientist is trying to find the cure for his wife's cancer befo

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