I recall when we met that you seem conflicted whether your next project ought to revolve around female sages, goddesses-in-training, etc of Asia, or if you should somehow "respond" to the Gulf oil spill by focusing your creative energy on that subject matter.
That inner conflict may be interfering with enjoying the creative process. Rather than creating a film, you're creating stress. Wherever you are, be there totally. Anyhow, see for yourself it that feels so.
After you told me the backstory of the making of "The Fountain", I went to see what Ari Handel was doing now. You're right -- nope, not a neuroscientist. His latest project in production now is "The Tiger," based on the nonfiction book of the same title to be released this August 24th.
"The Tiger" starts when "a poacher in a remote forest in Russia’s Far East sets out to snare one of the world’s most extraordinary animals—the Siberian tiger." And it's the villagers that have hired the poacher to kill the tiger.
"We meet the native tribes who for centuries have worshiped and lived alongside tigers—even sharing their kills with them—and the impoverished Russians of today whose poaching has upset this natural balance. We learn about surprising theories of how humans and tigers may have evolved to coexist, how we may have developed as scavengers rather than hunters, and how our prehistoric ancestors may have fit seamlessly into their ecosystems." - publisher statement on "The Tiger" by John Vaillant
Reading the description of the true story that inspired the author, a few Chinese symbols popped vivid for me: Far East = yang at extremes and tiger = yin. My interpretation: yang (Far East) is out of whack in trying to decimate yin (tiger). FYI, symbolically, west = yin and dragon = yang.
"The Queen Mother of the West, called Xi Wangmu in Chinese is regarded as the highest goddess and the ruler of female Transcendents. Originally, from the earliest known depictions of her in the “Guideways of Mountains and Seas” during the Zhou Dynasty, she was a ferocious goddess with the teeth of a tiger, who sent plagues down upon the world." - Ancient Chinese Literature, "the Queen of the Female Immortals"
So, it's not like you were set to make a (re)action-packed-thriller superwomen tale (yang), when you spoke of your film (or whatever form the final story shapes out to be), you expressed to me a harmony of yin and yang.
I saw a billboard the other day too, it said: Believe. Trust your instincts.
"Although [Carl] Jung found that the archetype of the Self could appear in dreams as a circular diagram [mandala], a rock, a giant figure, the center of a landscape, or other things, perhaps one of its most useful appearances was as a wise teacher. Jung discovered this in his own dreams in 1914 when a wise teacher in the form of an old man with a beard and large wings like a kingfisher bird flew into his dream. Jung named him Philemon, and he became a regular figure in his dreams and fantasies, one he was able to talk with and learn things from. What clued Jung in as to why this Philemon would be important to him was a synchronistic event [Jung coined the term synchronicity] connected with the first dream.
After Jung first dreamed of Philemon he realized he was onto something, and over the next few days he painted Philemon's picture with a white beard, a long, colorful sort of ancient robe, a golden halo, and large green, red, and black kingfisher wings. While Jung was working on the painting, he decided to take a break and walked out into his garden to the shore of the lake where he lived. On the shore he found a dead kingfisher. Now, these birds are rare where he Jung lived, he had never seen one on his property before, and he never saw one again. As you can imagine, he was blown away. Jung realized that this was an example of synchronicity. He further realized that there was a connection between synchronicity and the archetypes and that this showed that there was a connection between our inner mental world and the outer physical world." - Mysteries, Legends, and Unexplained Phenomena: Astrology and Divination, by Robert M. Place
art credits: 1. Queen of Wands in the Tarot of the Pomegranate by An-Magrith Erlandsen 2. The Taoist classic Zhuang Ze says of Xi Wang Mu: “Nobody knows her beginning, nobody knows her end.” Illustration via Ancient Chinese Literature blog. 3. Alcyone, in Greek myth changed to a kingfisher. Painting detail of Herbert James Draper's Halcyone, (1915) via Inky Fool, who explains the metamorphosis.