Last weekend, Natalie Portman received a well-deserved Oscar for her intense performance of a fragile ballerina suffering from horrific stage fright in Darren Aronofsky’s “Black Swan.” While Portman’s gradual transition into a nimble creature of determination gave the movie its dazzling face, several forces behind the curtain guided its memorable execution. At tomorrow’s IFP Script to Screen Conference, I’ll speak with one of them, co-screenwriter Mark Heyman.
Until now, Heyman’s career has existed in the shadow of his mentor, Aronofsky, whom the writer worked for straight out of film school. A co-producer on “The Wrestler,” Heyman’s sensibilities also run quite dark, as evidenced by his other screenplays, several of which have started to go into production. His screenplay for “The Skeleton Twins,” which won the Sundance Screenwriting Lab in 2007, has turned into a feature starring Anna Faris; “SarahN_12” was a part of IFP’s No Borders program, which helps completed screenplays find financing, and also won the 2007 Sloan Feature Film Grant. He’s also writing a “Lord of the Flies”-type story for Marc Webb, director of the current “Spider-Man” reboot, and “Machine Man,” another Aronofsky project.
A major undercurrent in all of these works is an obsession with the fantastic, whether in the form of science fiction or the mysteries of human relationships. The complexities of “Black Swan” on the level of cinematic construction take an entirely separate form on the page, a duality that Heyman and I will no doubt discuss, in addition to the vast steps this prolific newcomer has taken in just a few years. If you’re in New York and can make time, please drop by for this hour-long discussion that will take place at the 92YTribeca from 1:30 – 2:30. Tickets are available here.