Darren Aronofsky Talks Studio Battles Over 'Noah' Cut

Noah

Darren Aronofsky is an Oscar-nominated director and a proven Hollywood commodity, but not even those qualifications could keep him from getting drawn into a tug-of-war with Paramount over his next film, Noah -- and all things considered, that just seems to be the kind of thing that will happen to a filmmaker who's brave enough to attempt a modern-day Biblical epic.

Aronofsky opened up about his struggle in a recent interview with the Hollywood Reporter, confirming that the studio held test screenings of the picture over his strenuous objections. "I was upset -- of course. No one's ever done that to me," he explained. "There was a rough patch. I imagine if I made comedies and horror films, it would be helpful. In dramas, it's very, very hard to do. I've never been open to it."

Ultimately, says Aronofsky, his vision for the movie prevailed. "I'm a great closer. I've never reshot a frame, and I think that's very odd on big-budget movies," he pointed out. "We're meticulous. We come from independent film, with limited resources. They tried what they wanted to try, and eventually they came back. My version of the film hasn't been tested ... It's what we wrote and what was greenlighted."

According to the director, filmgoers can expect to see a version of the story that, in some ways, is a literal interpretation of the Biblical text. "I had no problem completely honoring and respecting everything in the Bible and accepting it as truth," said Aronofsky. "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.' We wanted to smash expectations of who Noah is. 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."

There are always nits to be picked, of course, but according to one religious group's spokesperson, the ends justify the means. "If you're expecting it to be word for word from the Bible, you're in for a shock," said a Pentecostal minister quoted in the article. "There can be an opportunity for Christians to take offense. [But] we were pretty excited that a studio like Paramount would invest in a Bible-themed movie."

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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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