Back when Darren Aronofsky revealed he was working on a big-budget adaptation of the story of Noah's Ark
from the Book of Genesis, the immediate reaction from many was what kind of flak the "Black Swan" director might receive from the Christian community. After all, from the beginning, he made it clear that he was in it for the story and not the religious underpinnings — a declaration of sorts that conservatives were not going to be pleased.
“I don’t think it’s a very religious story," he told Variety in 2012
. "I think it’s a great fable that’s part of so many different religions and spiritual practices. I just think it’s a great story that’s never been on film. I want to make a big event film, and I think it can be that.”
Perhaps the biggest sign that Aronofsky was not going to follow the Bible version was his addition of some very clear environmental themes to the film.
"It’s a really cool project and I think it’s really timely because it’s about environmental apocalypse which is the biggest theme, for me, right now for what’s going on on this planet," he told Slashfilm
. "So I think it’s got these big, big themes that connect with us. Noah was the first environmentalist."
Fast-forward and it appears that early test screenings to what The Hollywood Reporter describes
as "key groups that might take a strong interest in the subject matter" have not turned out well. The report quotes an anonymous source close to the production that says poor ratings from Christians and Jews in particular have studio partner Paramount worried. Based on the above quote, I'm not sure what they were necessarily expecting from those groups, but a test screening to the general public also apparently did not fare well. From the article:
"All are said to have generated troubling reactions. But sources say Aronofsky has been resistant to Paramount's suggested changes. 'Darren is not made for studio films,' says a talent rep with ties to the project. 'He's very dismissive. He doesn't care about [Paramount's] opinion.'"
With "Noah" debuting in March of next year, there's still plenty of time to tinker with the final product. And let's not forget the lessons learned from "World War Z
," which turned out to be a giant success despite media reports in the months prior to its release declaring otherwise.
"This is a long and collaborative process, and Darren and the studio are working together to make the best version of his movie that they can," a rep for the director told EW.com
. "To comment on anonymous quotes only gives time and space to false rumors and gossip."
In other words, let's not sink this ship just yet.
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