“I was upset, of course. No one has ever [taken away final cut]…[But the small but vocal segment of the faith-based audience] can be noisy,” stated Darren Aronofksy.
Darren Aronofsky just gave his first interview about his upcoming film Noah; there he talks about the recent turmoil of making a studio film. Darren Aronofsky has always been an independent filmmaker; his last studio film The Fountain, was littered with problems and took nearly five years to make. Since that debacle, Aronofsky has done two independently financed films: 2008s The Wrestler and 2010s Black Swan. So it was quite shocking when he announced his $125 million studio-based faith project; however, according to the director the story of Noah has been a passion project since he was a 13-year old Brooklyn boy.
The first sign of trouble was when Paramount decided to present an unfinished film to test audiences; the studio did this because they were nervous about the conflicted portrayal of Noah (Russell Crowe). “One religious viewer echoed the sentiments of others by criticizing the depiction of Noah as a “crazy, irrational, religious nut” who is fixated on modern-day problems like overpopulation and environmental degradation.” Lets ignore the so-called environmental agenda and say that this complaint comes from differing political views. However, how can one say that Noah is not ‘crazy, irrational, and religious nut?’ Nothing against the man, but he gave up everything to build a boat for what he thought was the end of the world. Yet he was not a nut, but a modern man who preaches the same thing is considered crazy; Noah was just lucky enough that his prediction came true. Now, that was a rough comparison, but in order to give up everything for a voice one has to be mentally unhinged. Aronofsky always wanted to give this controversial but fresh take on Noah.
“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.”
But the studio has become so nervous about the test audiences that they, not Aronofsky, started to edit the film. This means that the final cut of the film has been taken away from the director and at the moment no one knows which cut will be released. It is understandable that Paramount wants to protect its $125 million investment, but they agreed to the director’s vision. Also, with a religious project, the studio needs to realize that they cannot make everyone happy; in fact the Vice-chair of Paramount, Rob Moore, stated that the religious people who had a literal interpretation did not have “recollections of the story that were correct.”
Who knows what mainstream society will say when this film comes out on March 28th? As the premiere date looms, audiences’ wonder will this be Aronofsky’s vision or will the studio get ‘cold feet’ and appease the criticisms of religious viewers? The director just wants to put this behind him and hopes that people accept his movie for what it is: a faith-based passion project with a humanistic interpretation.
“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.”
Source: The Hollywood Reporter