Darren Aronofsky and Paramount Reportedly Feuding Over 'Noah'

Noah

Religiously themed dramas tend to be the near-exclusive domain of Walden Media and Kirk Cameron, but that will change with Darren Aronofsky's Noah -- if, that is, he and Paramount Pictures can come to an agreement over what exactly the darn thing is going to look like when it arrives in theaters.

That's the gist, anyway, of a new article from the Hollywood Reporter, in which anonymous and vaguely worded sources suggest "troubling reactions" from test screenings have prompted a certain amount of panic at the studio -- and annoyance from Aronofsky, who's described (by another anonymous source, natch) as "Not made for studio films ... He's very dismissive. He doesn't care about [Paramount's] opinion."

This is all hearsay, of course, but given Aronofsky's relative lack of experience with projects this size (the Biblical epic is said to be over its already-hefty $125 million budget) as well as reports that his vision for the story is so heavily dependent on CGI that "in some scenes, only an actor's face" is real, it's easy to believe there might be some static between the director and his benefactors.

But what seems to be truly problematic is Paramount's nervousness about alienating religious viewers. Given that the story of Noah comes from the Old Testament, whose scriptures are shared by multiple belief systems, that should be relatively simple -- but these are charged times for faithful folk, and the studio's position has reportedly been complicated by a script that, in one critic's words, is "an uninteresting and unbiblical waste of a hundred and fifty million dollars that will ruin for decades the possibility of making a really great and entertaining movie of this Bible hero." (Chief among the complaints: Aronofsky's purported plans to present Noah as an environmentalist -- which should make sense in a story whose moral is humanity's responsibility to act as good stewards for the Earth, but hey, whatever.)

The validity of THR's report is worth questioning, especially since it mentions nothing specific about those "troubling reactions" and nobody from either camp is really saying anything. Then again, we're talking about a Hollywood environment in which even a money-making auteur like Aronofsky (or Alfonso Cuaron, or Bong Joon-ho) isn't safe from hardline studio mandates, so there could very well be a battle brewing.

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Jeff is an entertainment writer and editor whose work currently appears at a variety of sites, including Rotten Tomatoes, Paste, American Songwriter, Popdose, Dadnabbit, Diffuser, and Ultimate Classic Rock.

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