In the wake of early negative reactions from Christian audiences to the Biblical film "Noah," director Darren Aronofsky and Paramount Pictures are now publicly reassuring faith-based audiences, but also managing their expectations.
In a lengthy feature posted on The Hollywood Reporter's website Tuesday, the director and Paramount vice chair Rob Moore openly discuss the difficulties of selling "Noah," a retelling of the well-known story from the book of Genesis with Russell Crowe in the title role, to Christian audiences. A rough cut of the film, shot partly on a massive ark built in Oyster Bay, was screened early for Christian viewers, but met with some negative reviews. A Christian blogger, writing at Godawa.com, obtained an early draft of the script and took Aronofsky to task for straying too far from the Biblical text and for casting Noah as an "environmentalist wacko."
In the story, the two filmmakers deliver a double-edged message about the movie.
Aronofsky admits, on the one hand, that his movie is an interpretation of the Noah story. "We wanted to smash expectations of who Noah is," Aronofsky told The Hollywood Reporter during a break from finishing the picture. "The first thing I told Russell is, 'I will never shoot you on a houseboat with two giraffes behind you.' ... You're going to see Russell Crowe as a superhero, a guy who has this incredibly difficult challenge put in front of him and has to overcome it."
On the other hand, Aronofksy says he wanted to make a film for people "who take this very, very seriously as gospel" and that he "had no problem completely honoring and respecting everything in the Bible and accepting it as truth."
Moore, who identifies as a devout Christian, said that "Noah" will not be a strict re-telling of the story in the vein of "Son of God," the upcoming film produced by Mark Burnett. "This movie has a lot more creativity to it. And therefore, if you want to put it on the spectrum, it probably is more accurate to say this movie is inspired by the story of Noah."
But Moore also says that the film reflects "the key themes of the Noah story in Genesis -- of faith and hope and God's promise to mankind." He adds: "Our anticipation is that the vast majority of the Christian community will embrace it."