Today: May 26, 2024

Darren Aronofsky Talks Noah

To celebrate the release of the Biblical Epic Noah, out on DVD, Blu-ray and VOD now, FilmJuice caught up with director Darren Aronofsky to find out what drew him to the flood and wiping out the evil of man.

You grew up in conservative Judaism. What is your interpretation of the Noah Story?
This all started with a poem I wrote when I was 13 years old. It was a poem about Noah. I don’t know why I did. And I just recently found the poem. There are a lot of ideas in this movie. The idea of hope, the idea of responsibility to creation.

What was your greatest challenge?
The challenge of doing one of the most famous stories of all human kind. Everyone has heard of the Noah story. It’s just a great story to save all the animals two by two. I wanted to battle that story.

How did you approach the story?
I looked very much at the text as a story of complete truth. And then I decided to bring that to life. We took the story and make it alive for a 21st century audience.

Religion is such a hot potato today. Nobody really wants to touch it. Did it worry you?
No, not at all. As I said, we were trying to stay very close to the text of the bible. Of course there has to be some interpretation since Noah’s story is only four paragraphs long in Genesis, and Noah never speaks. But we wanted Russell Crowe to speak in the film.

What do you think believers and non-believers will get out of this film?
I think believers will get anything they hope for in this film. And non-believers will get excited when they realize this is not their grandmother’s Noah. It’s a film where we look at the evidence that the bible provides us with. We did decide to create this fantastical world following the clues we got out of the bible.

Why did you publish Noah’s story first in a comic book?
Well, we first wrote the film six years ago. And nobody was interested in doing bible movies at the time. I didn’t want all the work I did to go to waste. I was very curious. They are the original superheroes. The original story of Noah is much better than the original story of Superman, I think.

Why Noah’s story?
No one ever attempted to do Noah. To me that was very excited. All of the sudden it’s exciting times to do Bible movies.

Where do you find the passion to make movies?
It’s hard to wake up to work on a movie when people say No to you every day. You need to develop a passion for the characters. That will get you going through tough times.

Do you want to tell epic stories?
For me “The Fountain” was everything I ever wanted to make. It felt like an epic. Every film has limitations. And you try to turn your limitations into something positive. You are always limited by time and money. I would have loved to have had another 20 or 30 million dollars for this film, but you learn to live with what you are given.

Can you talk about casting Emma Watson for this role?
Luckily I hadn’t seen too much of her before. I just knew her face because it’s out there in the world. But when she came in to read, I was just very impressed with her acting.

How about Russell Crowe. Was he always going to be your Noah?
That role was an incredibly difficult to cast. I needed someone with incredible strength, with great credibility. Russell is that kind of guy. There is this big idea about righteousness. It’s a combination of justice and mercy. I needed someone who could do that. And again, Russell was that kind of guy.

What was the visual influence for you?
It was Iceland. I went to Iceland a couple years ago and just fell in love with the land. It’s just very new land compared to, let’s say, Brooklyn. I thought this would be a great place to shoot this movie.

How do you find the right tone?
You have to be absolutely realistic. They have to play it like real people. You have to put them in a place where they are very grounded and completely believe it.

How did you decide what kind of animals you wanted to show in Noah?
From the beginning I was not that interested in showing just the exotic animals like polar bears, elephants and giraffes. And as you can see in the movie, we show this huge array of species. And I was never interested in working with live animals on this film.

How much research did you do?
Oh, we did endless research. We talked to all the best bible scholars in the world. It really helped for this movie.

Are you a believer?
What I believe is not important. What is important is how I treated the text. I wanted to get the story of Noah to life. It’s not a personal discussion whether I am a believer.

What will the audience take away from the movie?
First and foremost I hope they have an entertaining time. I also hope they take some conversation away. I hope they think about the themes of Noah. There are a lot of stories in this movie that make it very contemporary.

Noah is out on VOD, DVD & Blu-ray on 28th July from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. 

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