Darren Aronofsky’s most recent movie, Mother!, is shocking and confusing, but underneath all the gore and Jennifer Lawrence’s haunting performance, the film is about environmentalism. Lawrence’s character is a stand-in for “Mother Earth,” and she’s destroyed in an upsetting fashion by mankind. Aronofsky’s latest project, a 10-part documentary series called One Strange Rock, is also about our home planet, but Aronofsky says they are almost polar opposites even though he was working on them at the same time.
“Both Mother! and One Strange Rock are grappling with ‘our home,’ our planet, and how we take care of it. It’s just interesting and strange, even to me, that they’re both coming out within a year of each other, yet they are completely on opposite sides of the spectrum in terms of mood and tone,” Aronofsky tells Inverse at a press event ahead of the One Strange Rock premiere.
“One is a celebration of life and one is a great critique of life. And, yet, they all have the same intention, which is, ‘we are on this one home together, and we have to learn to take care of our mother nature.’”
One Strange Rock, which was executive produced by Aronofsky, gathers eight astronauts who have all seen Earth from space and, using astounding footage and visuals, tries to get viewers to experience Earth through their eyes. Those astronauts, the likes of which include Chris Hadfield, Mike Massimino, and Nicole Stott, experienced something called “the Overview Effect,” which made them see their home planet differently and feel a new sense of connection to this special, fragile place. Compare that to Mother!, where mankind literally disembowels Mother Earth’s baby and tears out her heart.
“Mother! was a cautionary tale and an allegory about holding up a mirror people who are not so connected to mother nature and not having any respect,” Aronofsky says. “And this is all about people who have just tremendous respect for mother nature and the planet, and who have had this kind of gift to leave the atmosphere and see the planet as just one spaceship.”
Aronofsky didn’t direct One Strange Rock — professional and talented documentarians got the eye-opening footage. But, he did establish a unique and unifying visual style for the show, and the top-down drone photography, spiral motifs, and other editing choices truly make Earth look truly cinematic.
“It was a great opportunity to show a shadow side and a light side of the issue.” Aronofsky says of Mother! and One Strange Rock.
One Strange Rock’s first episode will premiere on March 26 at 10 p.m. Eastern on the National Geographic Chanel.