The AV Club interviews Darren Aronofsky.
AVC: So, more pop psychology for you: Why do people want to watch wrestling and violence, but not deal with a film that has to do with death?
DA: Well, it’s weird, because there is a theme in this that’s very similar to a theme in The Fountain. [Rourke’s character] comes to terms with who he is and has a similar kind of plunge at the end as [in] The Fountain. I think ultimately, wrestling is just an extension of gladiatorial fighting, except more civil in the sense that people aren’t being killed. It’s acting out the whole good-vs.-evil dynamic, but beyond that, there’s the whole masochism element of the wrestling. Why people are into watching people face down death and pain, is, I think… Shoot, I don’t know, there’s probably a billion other reasons, but I think a part of it is by witnessing other people going through it, you can empathize with it, and it makes you feel alive, because feeling pain is one of the things that kind of makes us feel alive. That’s your pull quote right there, “Feeling pain is what makes us feel alive!” [Laughs.]