You know how it is: you get on the train, an old man starts perving at you, maybe he sings a song, maybe he gets his tongue out, but the disturbing thing is that he looks strangely familiar.
That's because he's Uncle Hank. And he's been riding Darren Aronofsky's subway for years.
At first, I recognised the man in Black Swan as being vaguely like the bloke from Pi, but thought it was just a coincidence. Then I started to re-watch Aronofsky's back catalogue and realised he was a proper recurring character. Allow me to introduce you to Darren Aronofsky's favourite uncle.
Stanley Herman's naughty relative first popped up in Darrenofsky's excellent debut Pi in 1998.
While Max runs around trying to figure out the meaning of the universe and the massive number in his head, Uncle Hank is busy doing show tunes opposite him on the train:
Uncle Hank then turned up two years later in Requiem for a Dream, calling for "Ass-to-ass!" action while, erm, holding a rather large, black, double-headed dil... you get the idea. Stanley Herman was also in David Fincher's Zodiac as a staff writer, but he wasn't a perve in that so it doesn't count. In fact, it's not until Black Swan that Uncle Hank's legacy really starts to take shape.
In Darrenofsky's demented ballet horror masterpiece, Nina Sayers (Natalie Portman) rides the subway home before encountering Hank for herself. It's a strange bit of repeated casting, but even more bizarre is that the script ordered Stanley Herman to do exactly the same thing as he did in Pi:
At no point in the screenplays is he referred to by his name. He's just "SKEEZY MAN", "Skinny Man" or (in the case of Requiem for a Dream) "PERVERT". But make no mistake: this is the same actor doing the same stuff in the same locations for the same director. And IMDb credits Stanley Herman as Uncle Hank in them, so it must be true.
So there you have it: Stanley Herman, the go-to perve for all your train-riding Darren Aronofsky needs. When you watch The Wolverine or you break out The Wrestler on DVD, don't be surprised if Uncle Hank pops up to pay a visit. But seeing as all this screenplay comparison is useless at warning you what to look out for, this might help a bit:
|Uncle Hank in Pi (1998)||Uncle Hank in Black Swan (2010)
Yes, it's just a man with no hair doing dirty things on public transport, but Judi Dench won an Oscar for less. All hail Uncle Hank.