What Jennifer Lawrence & Darren Aronofsky Can Learn From Hollywood's Actor-Director Couples Who've Come Before Them

Lessons the mother! duo can Hollywood's other successful actor-director couples.

By Billy Nilles Sep 13, 2017 11:00 AMTags
Watch: Why Jennifer Lawrence Was Perfect to Be in "Mother!"

Your emotions are in a heightened state thanks to the long hours and the story you're telling. You're closed off from the outside world. You're collaborating on a labor of love. Before you know it, you're falling in love on a film set.

It might just be one of Hollywood's oldest clichés—and many fizzle out before the film can even hit theaters—but for a handful of lucky couples, the romance unlocked while working together on a movie as director and actor can last a lifetime. If they work it right.

Jennifer Lawrence and her mother! director Darren Aronofsky are the latest director-actor couple to rise up unexpectedly after working with one another, and as their head trip of a film is making the festival rounds ahead of its U.S. theatrical release on Friday, Sept. 15, we're finally seeing the pair open up about one another after a year spent trying to keep their relationship under wraps.

Jennifer Lawrence's Best Looks
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Usually never one to shy away from expressing herself, Lawrence has remained tight-lipped about her romance with the 48-year-old director, only cryptically admitting in Vogue's September 2017 issue that she had "energy" for him. "When I saw the movie, I was reminded all over again how brilliant he is," she added. "For the past year, I've been dealing with him as just a human...I've been in relationships before where I am just confused. And I'm never confused with him."

While they may seem like opposites at first glance, their connection has intensified over their shared sense of humor. "Jennifer always cracks jokes and Darren just gets her humor," a source previously told E! News. They laugh all the time!" And their shared admiration for each other's craft certainly can't have hurt.

"I mean, she's a thunderstorm, she's an earthquake, she's a hurricane, she's a tornado of talent," Aronofsky gushed to E! News' Zuri Hall at the film's premiere during the Toronto International Film Festival. "And that's exactly what I was looking for."

Jennifer Lawrence and Darren Aronofsky Make Their First Red Carpet Appearance Together
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While things may be serious now, the true test for the relationship will come when mother!'s press tour winds down and their busy careers begin to get in the way. And though every couple is different, if these two really want to make it work, it couldn't hurt to look to some of their peers for guidance.

In an almost identical situation to Lawrence and Aronofsky, with just a slight inversion, is Avengers: Age of Ulton actor Aaron Taylor-Johnson and his wife, Fifty Shades of Grey director Sam Taylor-Johnson. The pair met on Sam's first feature, 2009's Nowhere Boy. She was 42 and newly divorced, he was 18. Engaged by October 2009, the welcomed their first of two daughters in 2010 and tied the knot in 2012, five months after their second child entered the world.

While they've managed to live happily ever after, their partnership has faced its fair share of scrutiny over their age difference. "People like to talk about it," Sam told THR back in June. "I'm like, 'Yeah, but it works better than my last marriage.' It's lasted longer than a lot of my friends' marriages."

While his wife has been able to look past the chatter, the Golden Globe-winning actor (for his work in Nocturnal Animals) has admitted that he struggled with the unwanted attention their relationship received in its early days. "The attention was intrusive," he told New York Magazine back in February. "But having to deal with that early in my career probably got me to a place where I can more quickly just go, 'Oh, f--k it' instead of wanting to rip someone's head off for asking questions I don't like."

As for how they've managed to make it work after all these years, Aaron has admitted that the secret isn't overthinking things. "I don't really analyze our relationship," he told MrPorter.com earlier this year.. "I just know that it works. I just feel secure and loved and safe. We have this very deep connection. We're just in sync."

Couples Who Stay Fit Together
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Another Hollywood couple with a similar story is our ginger goddess Julianne Moore and her husband of 14 years, Bart Freundlich. The pair met in 1996 on the set of The Myth of Fingerprints, which Freundlich wrote and directed. Reeling from the dissolution of her first marriage, Moore had no idea the film would introduce her to her soulmate. "When I read the script for [The Myth of Fingerprints], I met Bart Freundlich. I loved it, and I loved his story," she said after being honored by the Museum of the Moving Image back in 2015. "But I never, ever, ever in my life imagined that making that movie would give me the personal life that I always dreamed of."  

"He's an extraordinary individual, and he's always made me feel good about myself and about my work, and I hope I make him feel good, too," she gushed to THR in 2015 about the husband nine years her junior, whom she married after seven years of dating and the births of their two children. "We're both available as parents, and we're a pretty great unit. And that's not to say it's all been a breeze, because it never is. There's always stuff."

While she's open about the effort it takes to make a marriage work, Moore's also not afraid to share how she and Freundlich has managed to last. "We have this weird thing where you have to make allowances for each other as human beings," she told Daily Mail in 2016. "You have to be compassionate and you have to be engaged. It can be hard at times, but it's worth it."

Julianne Moore Goes Villain in Kingsman: The Golden Circle
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And as is the case with Lawrence and Aronofsky, it never hurts to keep the laughs coming. "He always makes me laugh," Moore added. I was about to go into a meeting yesterday and he sent me a text. I was laughing so hard I started to cry; I had to pull myself together before I went in."

While the jury is still out on whether or not Lawrence and Aronofsky will go the distance, a quick analysis of the one thing Hollywood's lasting director-actor couples have in common is a willingness to take things slow. The Taylor-Johnsons waited three years to tie the knot, while Moore and Freundlich waited seven. Helen Mirren met husband Taylor Hackford on the set of the 1985 film White Nights. She became involved with her director the following year, but didn't make it official until 1997. And Milla Jovovich began dating her Resident Evil director Paul W.S. Anderson after working together in 2002. They wouldn't marry until 2009.

Could this all go the way of Kristen Stewart and Rupert Sanders? Sure, we're not fortune tellers. But if the mother! duo can stand to let things take their natural course and ignore all the outside chatter, they just might get their happy ending after all.

mother! hit theaters Friday, Sept. 15.