Aronofsky remembered an English teacher who wore a ton of pink and even drove a pink Mustang asking the class to write a poem on peace. The 13-year-old responded with a poem called “The Dove” and won an award from the United Nations.
Aronofsky, now 45, probably never imagined one day his film “Noah” would create theological debate, be banned in some Muslim countries like Indonesia, and take 10 years to reach opening night.
“I was surprised that we had so much controversy so early on because people didn’t see it,” Aronofsky said. “I think the controversy is evaporating now that people have seen the film. Finally people are seeing the film and their comments have been great.”
When Paramount screened the movie, a conservative group contested the film was too dark, did not follow the text, and a disclaimer was added “artistic license has been taken.” With controversy, dialog opens up, and people are researching scriptures on their own.
If you’re expecting Russell Crowe starring as Noah to appear with a long white beard, giraffes or elephants standing behind him and a white dove —then you will be disappointed.
“‘Noah” isn't a cutesy kid’s story. It's an apocalyptic story,” said Ari Handel, a former neuroscientist, who wrote the script with Aronofsky.
God is fed up with the wickedness and must destroy man in the first end of world story. It’s raw, reveals wickedness, unquestioning faith, but also exhibits the mercy of God.
The writers wanted to humanize and personalize Noah's journey by allowing surprises along the way.
“Most movies today you know exactly what’s going to happen because you see it in the trailer,” Aronofsky said. “The exciting thing about this film is that there’s a lot of movie you don’t see coming. This film has a lot of great surprises.”
The priority was not to contradict the Bible, and the team consulted theologians, the Midrash and the Book of Enoch to fill in the gaps. One character inspired from Nephilim was depicted as fallen angels trapped inside the bodies of molten rock.
“The Bible talks about the Nephilim so we knew we had to deal with that… Interpreting a story that is four chapters long and making it into a two hour movie that’s entertaining, you have to study every word,” said Aronofsky who directed “The Wrestler” and “Black Swan."
“We really wanted to take out the big themes from the film, the ideas of mercy and justice, and try to figure out a story for these characters. I was really inspired metaphorically by the idea of [the Nephilim] falling in love with man from afar, from above, caring for them, and that’s how I wanted to express the love and somehow combining [them] with the earth, and to be imprisoned by the earth.”
Aronofsky tracked down his former teacher and invited her to the set and casted her. “She’s actually a one-eyed crone in the movie who says, “You! You!” And, yes, she still owns a pink Mustang.
Anthony Hopkins, Emma Watson, and Jennifer Connelly join Crowe in Noah’s epic journey hitting theaters on March 28.