Aronofsky talks interfaith filmmaking, test screenings, etc.

Aronofsky talks interfaith filmmaking, test screenings, etc. February 12, 2014

And the interviews keep on coming! In a week already brimming with new information about Darren Aronofsky’s Noah, The Hollywood Reporter has posted a major article on the making of the film that includes some great new quotes from Aronofsky himself.

The article is full of interesting information about the film and the friction that did exist at one point between the studio and the director (who, incidentally, turns 45 today), and it’s worth a read in its entirety (though one or two things it mentions could be considered spoilers). But here are some spoiler-free highlights:

  • Aronofsky agreed to make the film with Paramount partly because studio vice chairman Rob Moore is a devout Christian. Says Aronofsky: “It was written by two Jewish kids, and to get his reaction gave us the confidence that there was a bigger audience for the film.” Adds Moore: “Certainly the conversations we had about the movie took place at a very different level than a lot of other people in terms of my understanding of the story.”
  • Contrary to what Emma Watson seemed to indicate the other day, the film is not three hours long; instead, it clocks in at 132 minutes (which is still longer than any other film Aronofsky has made).
  • Aronofsky insisted on building the Ark to the Bible’s specifications: “Of course, my production designer [Mark Friedberg] had a million ideas of what it could look like, but I said, ‘No, the measurements are right there.'”
  • The teacher who inspired Aronofsky to write a prize-winning poem about Noah when he was only 13 years old has a cameo in the film as “a one-eyed crone” in a scene with Russell Crowe.
  • Aronofsky went without final cut on the film, probably for the first time in his career, in order to get the budget he needed to make the movie.
  • The studio conducted test screenings of several alternate versions of the film against Aronofsky’s wishes, but none of those cuts tested any better than Aronofsky’s own cut — though Aronofsky says his version, which is what the studio will release six weeks from now, has never actually been tested.
  • A Christian who attended one of the test screenings says he objected to the film’s portrayal of Noah as “a ‘crazy, irrational, religious nut’ who is fixated on modern-day problems like overpopulation and environmental degradation.”
  • In response to feedback from Christians at the test screenings, a bit of dialogue was added to the film to clarify that Ila is, in fact, married to Shem. (The Reporter says Ila is married to Shem’s brother Ham, but based on everything we’ve seen in the trailers, this is almost certainly wrong.)
  • Some Christian leaders have embraced the film — Hillsong pastor Brian Houston told his congregation, jokingly, “You’ll enjoy the film — if you’re not too religious” — but many people contacted by the Reporter at last week’s National Prayer Breakfast were only dimly aware, if that, that a movie about Noah was coming out next month.
  • The studio is now “launching an advertising campaign designed to communicate that this film — an exploration of Noah’s emotional journey — flows in large part from Aronofsky’s imagination.”

Incidentally, new character posters of Ray Winstone as Tubal-Cain and Logan Lerman as Ham were released earlier today; I have added them to my previous post with the character posters of Russell Crowe as Noah and Jennifer Connelly as Naameh. If any more posters are released in that style, I will add them to that post as well.

Finally, you can preview the first ten pages of the Noah graphic novel here.

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