Read Darren Aronofsky’s Preface to Behind-the-Scenes ‘Pi’ Book

Before he had the budget to stage elaborate films like “The Fountain” and “Noah,” Darren Aronofsky got his start with “Pi,” a microbudget indie that hit theaters in July 1998. Shot in stark black and white, the story of an obsessive mathematician looking for the number that can unlock the secret to nature received acclaim and earned Aronofsky a Director’s Prize at Sundance, but faded into relative obscurity as he broke through to the mainstream with “Requiem for a Dream” and “Black Swan.” But in 2023, “Pi” got a new lease on life when Aronofsky sold the film’s rights to A24, and the studio celebrated with a 25th-anniversary re-release of the film in IMAX theaters. The re-release happened on — you guessed it — Pi Day.

One year later, A24 is celebrating Pi Day again with two new releases. The first is an all-new Blu-ray release of the film, which is available in both a standard edition and a 4k Ultra HD edition. The second is a new behind-the-scenes book about the making of the film, titled “Pi: The Guerilla Diaries.” Both are on sale now, and IndieWire exclusively can share the prelude to the book, which can be read below.

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“Pi: The Guerilla Diaries” and the 4k Blu-Ray edition of the film.
“Pi: The Guerilla Diaries” and the 4k Blu-Ray edition of the film.

According to A24, “Pi: The Guerilla Diaries” consists of Aronofsky’s actual diary and writings he kept during the making of his debut feature, recounting his life in New York and struggles to finance the project. In addition to Aronofsky’s journal entries, the book also contains “hundreds of never-before-seen photos and materials” pulled from the director’s archives. The Blu-ray, meanwhile, will feature multiple special features, including: the 4k restoration from 2023 with Dolby Atmos, two commentaries (one from Aronofsky, one from lead star Sean Gullette) originally recorded in 1998, behind-the-scenes footage and deleted scenes with commentary tracks, a music video, special postcards with archival thumbnail scans, and video of Aronofsky’s speech accepting the Directing Award at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival.

“Pi: The Guerilla Diaries” and the Collector’s Edition Blu-ray are available to buy exclusively on A24’s online shop. The book is on sale for $36, while the Blu-ray goes for $30 (standard edition) and $35 (4K UHD). Buyers can also buy both the book and the Blu-ray at a discounted bundle price, which goes for $58 (standard) or $62 (4K UHD).

Without further adieu, read Aronofsky’s prelude to “The Guerilla Diaries” here:

When I was 28 years old, 25 years was a lifetime. A far-off future in the 21st century. Completely unimaginable. I didn’t know who I’d be or what I’d be doing. I didn’t know if anyone would remember π. Or if I’d ever make another film again.

What I did know is that my past/present/future selves would never forgive me if I sold away the rights to π for good. So I made a choice and refused to take any distribution deal that didn’t guarantee that the film rights would come back to the filmmakers.

I remember the studio head chuckling to himself before he gave in and agreed. He figured he wouldn’t be alive in 25 years, so who cares-it’ll be someone else’s problem-and he offered it. And here we are, 25 years later. I’m happy to report he’s alive and well.

I understand why he chuckled at us. I had no master plan behind the demand. All I knew is that the technology behind filmmaking was getting sharper and smarter by the year, and that one day I might want to come back to my first film and bring it into the future.

Because π was truly analog. There is not one single digital effect in the movie. We had to find other ways to push the envelope. It was the first movie ever to have an entire title/credit sequence designed via computer, as well as the first film to be available for download on the early days of the World Wide Web.

π’s lack of technological advancement only convinced us of its future potential. So I’m grateful that youthful obstinance (and a studio head’s lack of confidence in his own health) has given us the chance to come back to this film all these years later.

Remastering π in 8K resolution and Atmos has been a deeply rewarding experience. It was a gift returning to old work, armed with the latest digital tools, with the ability to make all the little tweaks and fixes that have nagged at me for decades. The experience of watching the film on Pi Day 2023–hopefully with some of you–was a joy. I hope we get to do it again.

Reworking the film also meant revisiting the diary you now hold in your hands. Reading it instantly returned me to the streets of late ’90s NYC–it was a different world, but I remember it all so clearly. The Cold War had just ended. Our president had just been caught having an extramarital affair. The Windows on the World restaurang at the top of the Twin Towers hosted a free rave every Wednesday night. Hell’s Kitchen was still called Hell’s Kitchen. Brooklyn was cool but not a brand, and no one knew where Bushwick was. You could still hail a taxi and get a beer for under two bucks at Sophie’s. The Lower East Side was a ghost town at night, and the Bowery was worse. Ray’s still served a great slice. Times Square was getting Disney-fied, but it was all right because you could still go see a double feature of a second-run movie and pay next to nothing.

It was a world that still used beepers (with the exception of a few of our friends who were living in the future with their flip phones). This meant that if your call time was at 7 a.m. on a corner, you were either on that corner at that time, or you were figuring out another way to get to work. Everything was written down on paper or shared through word of mouth. It wasn’t very efficient, but somehow we pulled it together.

I could reminisce a lot more. But if there’s one thing I want to emerge from the following pages, it’s that none of this would have happened without genuine collaboration. From day one, I was successful because of the friends who came together and joined me in building a dream. A film is never one person, but many. And assembling the right team is as crucial today as it was 25 years ago.

I am forever grateful to all the people who showed up and believed in this crazy movie. And I’m deeply moved any time I meet a π fan today. So for all of you, I’m thrilled we can give you a peek under the hood of my mindset while planning, making, and delivering this movie.

With love and thanks,


“Pi: The Guerilla Diaries”
“Pi: The Guerilla Diaries”

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