Church groups get their first glimpse of Noah

The release of Darren Aronofsky’s Noah is only eight months away, so it’s about time the studio started drumming up some interest in the film by showing bits and pieces of it to the general public. (As a point of reference, we have already seen a couple trailers for another highly stylized take on the ancient world that is based on a graphic novel and coming out in March of next year, namely 300: Rise of an Empire.)

So far, though, by my count there has been nothing in the way of official publicity material for the film, beyond a handful of photos featuring Noah and a few other characters, such as his grandfather Methuselah.

However, if you happened to attend a recent trade conference or two, you might have seen some actual footage from Noah. And now, according to The Hollywood Reporter, the studio has started to show clips from the film to actual churchgoers, too.

Last night, an “exclusive sneak peek” at the film was shown at the Echo Conference in Dallas, Texas, to the apparent delight of Twitterers there, and the footage was preceded by a video intro featuring Aronofsky himself:

In the intro, Aronofsky talks about how he had dreamed of making a movie about Noah since he was in the 7th grade, when a poem he wrote about the biblical character won a contest and he read it before the United Nations. Aronofsky says that experience “gave me the courage and spirit to be a writer. So Noah’s very much been a patron saint in my life leading me towards my creative endeavors.”

“I’m also excited that Hollywood has finally agreed to make the first biblical epic in almost 50 years,” he adds. “It’s been a long time since Bible movies were on the screen, and there’s been a lot of advancements in technology and special effects, and maybe that’s the reason why Noah’s never been attempted on the big screen before because of the size and scale of the deluge and all the different animals…But now, finally, with Hollywood’s help, we can actually do this and bring it to life.”

Two quick fact-checks, if I may:

First, the story of Noah has been attempted on the big screen before, though to my knowledge it has always been combined with modern-day storylines, as in Noah’s Ark (1928), or with other stories from the Book of Genesis, as in The Bible: In the Beginning… (1966). And then there are the films that have riffed on the story without being biblical adaptations per se, such as Evan Almighty (2007).

It’s also not quite accurate to say that no Bible epics have been made for the big screen since the 1960s. Obviously, there’s all sorts of room to quibble over how big or expensive a movie has to be before it counts as an “epic” — so presumably low-budget movies like The Last Temptation of Christ (1988) and mid-budget movies like The Nativity Story (2006) wouldn’t count, and presumably animated films like The Prince of Egypt (1998) don’t quite qualify either — but what about, say, King David (1985), which was produced by the very same studio that is now making Noah?

All that aside, it’s good to hear that footage is now being shown to people outside the industry. Now we just need to see an actual trailer, online or in theatres!

About Peter T. Chattaway

Peter T. Chattaway was the regular film critic for BC Christian News from 1992 to 2011. In addition to his film column, which won multiple awards from the Evangelical Press Association, the Canadian Church Press and the Fellowship of Christian Newspapers, his news and opinion pieces have appeared in such publications as Books & Culture, Christianity Today, Bible Review and the Vancouver Sun. He also contributed essays to the books Re-Viewing The Passion: Mel Gibson’s Film and Its Critics (Palgrave Macmillan, 2004) and Scandalizing Jesus?: Kazantzakis’s The Last Temptation of Christ Fifty Years on (Continuum, 2005).

  • hymntech

    No Bible epics since the ’60s?’
    Two words: “The Passion.”

    • http://patheos.com/blogs/filmchat Peter T Chattaway

      The Passion of the Christ (five words, not two!) had a smaller budget than The Nativity Story. So whether it counts as a “Bible epic” may depend on your definition of “epic”. Also, The Passion of the Christ was produced independently, without any input from Hollywood studios.


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