'Noah' Movie Disclaimer to Woo Christian Audience Upsets Darren Aronofsky, Controversies Linger around the Biblical Epic
By Daniella Chen, Crossmap On March 6, 2014
"Noah" movie ahead of its premiere is stirring buzz as the Bible-themed film has been criticized for its non-Biblical contents.
And when Paramount recently added a disclaimer in the marketing materials for "Noah," the film's director Darren Aronofsky was reportedly uninformed.
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The $125 million Paramount Studios production is set to hit theaters on March 28, but the swirling controversy around the Biblical epic led the production studio to make the change to their ads.
According to what an insider told TheWrap, Aronofsky was "not happy" to hear about the "explanatory message" which reads:
"The film is inspired by the story of Noah. While artistic license has been taken, we believe that this film is true to the essence, values, and integrity of a story that is a cornerstone of faith for millions of people worldwide. The biblical story of Noah can be found in the book of Genesis."
The disclaimer came after the studio talked with the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB).
"Because of the quality of the production and acting, viewers will enjoy watching main themes from the Noah story depicted in a powerful way on the big screen," NRB CEO Jerry A. Johnson said in a statement.
"However, my intent in reaching out to Paramount with this request was to make sure everyone who sees this impactful film knows this is an imaginative interpretation of Scripture, and not literal."
The disclaimer would help "audiences better understand that the feature film is a dramatization of the major scriptural themes and not a line-by-line retelling of the Bible story," Johnson explained.
During its production process, "Noah" sparked a clash between its writer-director Aronofsky and Paramount, The Hollywood Reporter revealed last year.
Paramount was concerned over the worrisome feedback after test screenings in October 2013, afraid that Aronofsky's interpretation of the biblical story of Noah would polarize viewers, especially conservative Christians.
Aronofsky has told associates that he does not want to do anything to hurt the movie, but does not want have anyone to hyper-sensitively react to his creative vision, according to TheWrap.
He was also dissatisfied when Paramount tested alternate versions of "Noah," which he didn't consider "true to his vision."
"I was upset - of course. No one has ever done that to me. 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. I don't believe that," he told The Hollywood Reporter.
In February, the final cut was finally decided after much discussion and compromise. What viewers will see in theaters will be Aronofsky's version, not any of the studio's alternate versions.
"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," the secular, Jewish Harvard graduate from New York City said.
The idea for a movie on Noah has been in his and writer Ari Handel's minds for 16 years.