Why did you want to adapt a work by Selby?
Anyone that reads Selby's work can see how intense his world is. He writes the most discordant, angry words that tickle the air with some sweet music around it. It's an unbelievable experience to read his books. I knew that once I made a larger film it would be very difficult to do a project like this. I live my life not wanting to have any regrets, and I knew that Selby was cool, that he's a badass.
What do you think the film is about?
The big point of the film was that all addictions are the same: coffee, TV, drugs - it didn't matter what the chemical was, it all was a drug for the body. People don't think that mainlining coffee and TV is the same as doing it with drugs. But ultimately, it's not about any of that. It's about mainlining hope. Ellen Burstyn's character says "It makes tomorrow alright." We, as humans, are living in the future. Selby is also saying that the American Dream is an opiate for the masses; it calms them, when they think they have a divine right to succeed.
The film is very shocking. How do you think people will react?
I know people will react violently to the film, but it is about how far the collapse goes. If we held any punches, it would undermine exactly what we were doing. The deepest, darkest images had to be there. The intensity had to be there. It's not going to be for everyone.
Read our review of "Requiem For A Dream".
Read a review of Darren Aronofsky's first feature film "Pi".