Darren Aronofsky on how the Alberta tar sands influenced the visual look of Noah

aronofsky-dicaprio-bruneeDarren Aronofsky came to Canada last week, along with Leonardo DiCaprio and Sierra Club director Michael Brune, to check out the Athabasca oil sands, a.k.a. the Alberta tar sands. Afterwards he gave a few interviews in which he discussed the environment and how he has dealt with that theme in his work. Among other things, he revealed — for the first time, to my knowledge — that the look of Noah was partly inspired by the tar sands.

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Exodus: Gods and Kings: the Hebrew slaves speak!

exodus-empire-mosesjoshua-a-aThe October issue of Empire magazine is out, and with it, a new article looking at Ridley Scott’s Exodus: Gods and Kings. This time the primary interviewees are Aaron Paul and Ben Kingsley, who play the Hebrew slaves Joshua and his father Nun — and they reveal a bit more about the role that their characters play in the story, and in shaping the destiny of Moses.

The article also comes with new pictures, including the one to the right, which gives us our first good sense of what the Moses of the Exodus — as opposed to the Moses who is a prince of Egypt — will look like.

The key thing we learn from the article is how the characters Joshua and Nun become a part of Moses’ life in the first place.

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Ridley Scott discusses the “international cast” of Exodus: Gods and Kings in a new interview (plus: new photos!)

exodus-yahoo-3Three months and a few days before it opens in New Zealand, the publicity campaign for Ridley Scott’s Exodus: Gods and Kings continues to step up. The latest example: an interview with Ridley Scott on Yahoo! Australia, accompanied by some brand-new pictures.

In the interview, Scott repeats a few things that he has said before, and it’s kind of hard to resist nitpicking some of his claims. For example, he once again says he wasn’t paying attention in his “religious instruction” classes when he was a boy, and that he had “no idea” how close Moses and Ramses were when they grew up together — but the Bible never says who the Pharaoh of the Exodus was, much less that he was ever close to Moses. Scott also says the story takes place “5000 years ago”, when in actual fact the historical Ramses II reigned just over 3200 years ago.

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The Exodus: Gods and KingsLawrence of Arabia overlap

wadirumEntertainment Weekly has a new interview with Ridley Scott in which the director discusses some of the films he plans to make after he finishes Exodus: Gods and Kings, such as the sequels to Prometheus and Blade Runner.

First up is The Martian, which is set on Mars — and Scott says he’ll probably shoot the Martian scenes in a place in Jordan called Wadi Rum. Entertainment Weekly then goes on to explain that this location was previously used in Lawrence of Arabia — where it served as the home of Auda Abu Tayi, the Arab chieftain played by Anthony Quinn — and, more recently, in Scott’s own Exodus: Gods and Kings.

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Unified Pictures announces its Noah’s Ark cartoon… again…

noahsark-unifiedUnified Pictures announced today that John Stevenson, one of the directors of the original Kung Fu Panda, will direct an animated version of Noah’s Ark for them, and that the film will be completed two years from now, in 2016.

None of that is news, though, to anyone who has been following this film. Stevenson’s involvement with the film was first announced in March 2013, and Unified Pictures has been saying the film will be ready in two years ever since it was first announced in 2007. Maybe what’s new now is that Stevenson will direct the film by himself; today’s press release makes no mention of Cameron Hood, who was announced as co-director last year.

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Aussie- and Canadian-born actresses join Spike TV’s Tut

tut-deen-bunburyWhile controversy continues to swirl around Exodus: Gods and Kings — with various Twitter users arguing that the Pharaohs and their relatives should have been played by black actors rather than actors of European and Palestinian descent — the casting directors on the Spike TV series Tut continue to go a somewhat different route. Having already cast Avan Jogia and Ben Kingsley — both of whom are half-Indian — as the Pharaoh Tutankhamun and his grand vizier, the producers have now cast Sibylla Deen, an Australian who is half-English and half-Pakistani, as Tutankhamun’s sister (and wife) Anke. Deadline also reports that Kylie Bunbury, daughter of the Guyanese-Canadian soccer star Alex Bunbury and his Polish-Swedish-American wife Kristi Novak, is playing someone named Suhad.


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