Reported by Siân Darling.
Darren Aronofsky’s Noah risks creative interference from the stake-holding studios, Paramount and New Regency.
Paramount and New Regency ensured an extended period in post-production aware that a story of religious content could raise controversy. Vice Chairman of Paramount, Rob Moore, stated that Paramount “allowed for a very long post-production period, which allowed for a lot of test screenings.”
These said test screenings of Noah have raised alarm to the audiences’ responses. The Hollywood Reporter reports that various versions of the biblical tale was screened to test audiences of varying religions that might take the subject matter to heart more than the average Hollywood punter: Jews and Christians namely.
Entertainment Weekly reports that the film was enjoyed in Texas, to a mostly Christian audience, however there is concern that this version of the story is veering away from the biblical basis, and more towards the modern dilemma of environmentalism and activism, making Noah to be a new kind of hero, with a revised value-set and possibly, a revised notion of good and evil. The story from the First Testament is that the floods occurred to wash away evil, and Noah, savior of the species, rescued the worthy.
In 2012, when Noah was in pre-production, screenwriter Brian Godawa focused on the “intersection of Hollywood and the Bible”. He reviewed and criticized the script on his blog, declaring that it “will be rejected by millions of devoted Bible readers worldwide because once again it subverts their own sacred narrative with a political agenda of pagan earth religion that is offensive to their faith.”
Although undoubtedly confronting for audiences, and perhaps unconventional for studios, Aronofsky’s Oscar-nominated direction has led him, and his actors, to acclaim; with Natalie Portman winning an Oscar for her role in Black Swan. Aronofsky undoubtedly wants success for his film, and while his confronting storytelling might have pushed audiences with films such as Requiem for a Dream and The Wrestler, tackling a biblical hero may be pushing sensitive buttons.
While Aronofsky is certainly asserting his creative freedom, Paramount vice-chairman Rob Moore is confident that “they are working it out together.” EW has also published a statement from Darren Aronofsky’s representative: “This is a long and collaborative process…To comment on anonymous quotes only gives time and space to false rumors and gossip.”
Is Aronofsky’s rep simply downplaying the issue, or will the director have to sacrifice parts of his film?