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It’s easy to understand why director Darren Aronofsky might want to follow The Wrestler with Black Swan. Even without having seen Black Swan it’s clear that both movies involve similar themes. Both stories focus on athletes struggling with fading careers in less than mainstream professions. In The Wrestler Mickey Rourke plays a wrestler past his prime but unable to let go of the spot light. In Black Swan Natalie Portman plays a dancer facing a career challenge from a younger talent. But who’d have suspected that they started life not just as similar films but as one movie?
Aronofsky tells MTV that his original intent was to make a film about the coupling of a wrestler and a ballet dancer. He explains, “At one point, way before I made 'The Wrestler,' I was actually developing a project that was about a love affair between a ballet dancer and a wrestler, and then it kind of split off into two movies.” But the ballet meets wrestling idea became too complex and he eventually split the two concepts off into two separate films.
Yet even now he considers The Wrestler and Black Swan to be companion pieces and his hope is that at some point, someone will play them together. Aronofsky says, “They are really connected and people will see the connections. It's funny, because wrestling some consider the lowest art — if they would even call it art — and ballet some people consider the highest art. But what was amazing to me was how similar the performers in both of these worlds are. They both make incredible use of their bodies to express themselves.”
Now that the cat’s out of the bag, I’d say a Wrestler/Black Swan double feature is almost inevitable. Start lobbying your local arthouse for it, right now.