Noah interview round-up: Oscar buzz, lessons learned, musical links between Aronofsky’s films, and more

Special Screening of 'NOAH'As far as I can tell, there have been three times in the Academy’s history when it nominated two different Bible movies for Oscars in the same year: in 1951, when Quo Vadis and David and Bathsheba received over a dozen nominations combined (neither film won anything); in 1959, when Ben-Hur won a record-setting 11 awards and The Big Fisherman also scored a few nominations; and in 1966, when arthouse favorite The Gospel According to St. Matthew received three nominations while the big-budget film The Bible: In the Beginning… received just one.

Could it happen again this year? It’s a sign of how strong the Bible-movie revival is right now that Oscar buzz has followed both of the year’s major entries in that genre. Ridley Scott’s Exodus: Gods and Kings comes out in December, right in the thick of awards season, and while it might not be a front-runner just yet, no one can forget how, the last time Scott made an ancient epic (i.e. Gladiator), it won Best Picture. And then there is Darren Aronofsky’s Noah.

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A last-minute casting change to Aronofsky’s Noah?

Darren Aronofsky tweeted this morning that Nick Nolte has just been added to the cast of Noah as the voice of Samyaza, one of the Watchers or Nephilim. (In most Jewish literature, the Nephilim are the offspring of the Watchers, but in Aronofsky’s film, they appear to be one and the same.) This is a little concerning, as the character had originally been played by Mark Margolis, an actor who has appeared in every single one of Aronofsky’s previous films. Margolis will still be represented in the film, sort of, as he provided the motion-capture performance that the CGI character is based on. But still, I had assumed his voice would be in the film. Let’s hope this bit of last-minute re-casting hasn’t been imposed on the film by the studio, the way New Line Cinema forced Chris Weitz to replace Nonso Anozie with Ian McKellen as the voice of an armoured bear in The Golden Compass (2007).

January 18 update: I just noticed that Aronofsky posted a follow-up tweet in which he assured Margolis fans that the actor is still in the film — as the voice of another Watcher named Magog. All right, then. Oh, and Aronofsky also indicated that Frank Langella may be voicing one of the Watchers, too. That could be interesting.
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