Anyone who has been following the events of Darren Aronofsky’s biblical epic Noah will know there have been some issues, and it hasn’t exactly been hidden the fact that Aronofsky and Paramount have had some disagreements on which cut of the film to release.
A short while ago I brought you the news that Paramount had tested unfinished versions of Noah to religious groups, and neither tested very well, prompting Paramount to panic and ask Aronofsky to change his film and make it more user friendly. For those who don’t know, Noah is based on a graphic novel written by Aronofsky and Ari Handel, and Aronofsky was not willing to change his vision, telling Paramount that having read the graphic novel, they knew that his version of Noah would not exactly be what some people would expect.
Even though Aronofksy, for the first time in his career, surrendered final cut to Paramount he stuck to his guns over Noah and refused to adjust his film. Needless to say he and Paramount hit a rough patch after the test screenings, but thankfully a report by THR confirms that both director and studio have come to an agreement, and the version being released in cinemas shortly will indeed be the director’s cut, and not a butchered version.
“My guys and I were pretty sure that because of the nature of the film and how we work, there wasn’t another version. That’s what I told them … the scenes were so interconnected — if you started unwinding scenes, I just knew there would be holes. I showed it to filmmaker friends, and they said the DNA was set in this film… I’m a great closer. I’ve never reshot a frame, and I think that’s very odd on big-budget movies. We’re meticulous. We come from independent film, with limited resources.”
Considering Aronofksy has made a career making films with little, or no studio interference (Pi, Requiem For a Dream, The Fountain, The Wrestler, Black Swan), it is clear that he was shocked by the events surrounding his new film Noah:
“I was upset — of course,” Aronofsky told THR. “No one’s ever done that to me… I imagine if I made comedies and horror films, it would be helpful. In dramas, it’s very, very hard to do. I’ve never been open to it.”
He then explained that he and Paramount came to an agreement, and it would appear that Paramount now support Aronofsky’s vision, and judging by the high awareness for the film, believe they have a hit on their hands. Aronofsky explained how his version of the film has not been test-screened yet, but it is 100% the version that has been greenlit for release:
“They tried what they wanted to try, and eventually they came back,” Aronsofsky said. “My version of the film hasn’t been tested… It’s what we wrote and what was greenlighted.”
Hooray for that!
He went on to explain how his vision for Noah is not what people might expect, as reported by THR:
“I had no problem completely honoring and respecting everything in the Bible and accepting it as truth…” For nonbelievers, he wanted to create “this fantastical world a la Middle-earth that they wouldn’t expect from their grandmother’s Bible school.” At the same time, he wanted to make a film for those “who take this very, very seriously as gospel.”
“We wanted to smash expectations of who Noah is. The first thing I told Russell is, ‘I will never shoot you on a houseboat with two giraffes behind you.’ … You’re going to see Russell Crowe as a superhero, a guy who has this incredibly difficult challenge put in front of him and has to overcome it.”
“For people who are very literal-minded, it would be great to communicate that the themes of the film are very much in line with the themes of the Bible — ideas about hope, second chances and family. If they allow that, they’re going to have an incredible experience with the movie. If they don’t allow it, it’s theirs to lose.”
Noah is directed and co-written by Darren Aronofsky, with John Logan and Ari Handel also on writing duties. The film stars Russell Crowe as Noah, Ray Winstone as his nemesis Tubal-Cain, Jennifer Connelly plays Noah’s wife Naameh, Douglas Booth will play Noah’s son Shem and Emma Watson his love interest Ila. Anthony Hopkins will play Noah’s 969 year old Grandfather Methuselah, and Logan Lerman and Kevin Durand also appear.
Noah will arrive in UK cinemas 28th March 2014.
NOAH is a close adaptation of the Biblical story of Noah’s Ark. In a world ravaged by human sin, Noah is given a divine mission: to build an Ark to save creation from the coming flood. The screenplay was written by Aronofsky and Ari Handel and revised by Academy Award®-nominated screenwriter John Logan (GLADIATOR, HUGO).