Darren Aronofsky’s biblical epic Noah will be released by Paramount as the director intended.
The film, starring Russell Crowe in the title role, had been re-cut six times by the studio in an attempt, according to Aronofsky to “ appease a small but vocal segment of the faith-based audience.”
While speaking to THR, the filmmaker revealed his dismay at Paramount’s efforts to re-cut his work.
He said: “I was upset — of course. No one’s ever done that to me.”
He added: “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.”
The Requiem for a Dream director’s last film, Black Swan, was his biggest success garnering awards and plaudits as well as grossing over $300 million worldwide.
However, with Noah, Aronofsky is dealing with his first blockbuster sized budget, $125 million, and also tackling a bible story, something which hasn’t always paid off at the box office.
Indeed, the studio evidently wanted the film to be accepted by the hardcore, yet well organized, devout Christian minority.
While Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ (2004) achieved this, grossing a heavenly $611 million, Scorsese’s controversial The Last Temptation of Christ (1988) offended many Christians and struggled commercially as a result.
However, the studio has worked closely with religious groups, including faith consultants Grace Hill Media, and have found that Noah has tested positively with Christian audiences.
After attending a special screening, Ben Field, who is head of film and television at an Australian Pentecostal mega-church, confirmed his overall delight that a Biblical story was getting the big Hollywood treatment.
He said: “If you’re expecting it to be word for word from the Bible, you’re in for a shock. There can be an opportunity for Christians to take offense. (But) we were pretty excited that a studio like Paramount would invest in a Bible-themed movie.”
Aronofsky, while chatting to Rolling Stone, confirmed that he tried to stay true to the Old Testament story as much as possible.
He said: “The film completely accepts the text, the four chapters in Genesis, as truth – just like if I was to adapt any book, I’d try to be as truthful to the original material as possible. It’s just that there’s only four chapters, and we had to turn it into a two-hour long narrative film.”
Noah, which also stars Emma Watson and Jennifer Connelly, will hit screens on March 28th.