Aronofsky's Cut of 'Noah' Untouched by Studio & Wasn't Screen Tested
For those worried that director Darren Aronofsky taking on a big studio film like Noah would result in a whitewashed version of the filmmaker's vision, we have some good news. A report from THR (via The Playlist) extensively covers the making of the film, and while Aronofsky reveals that Paramount Pictures initially tried several of their own cuts of the Biblical epic with an eye towards pleasing a Christian audience, they weren't better than his own early, rough cuts. The result was Paramount fully trusting in Aronofsky to get the job done without meddling with the final cut, which includes skipping focus group testing.
Paramount was eager to please a Christian audience, and after finding that some of the enthusiastic group had problems with "the intensity and darkness of the lead character" (including Noah getting drunk and "taking drastic measures to eradicate mankind from the planet"), they tried out around half of a dozen different cuts of the film. This wasn't something Aronofsky was all that thrilled by saying, "I was upset, of course. No one's ever done that to me." But while Aronofsky admits, "There was a rough patch," the studio now fully supports Aronofsky's cut, mainly because their own attempts didn't work. The filmmaker says:
"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."
While Paramount, specifically vice chairman Rob Moore, hopes that a Christian audience still finds the film, they're aware that this film isn't necessarily the kind of project that The History Channel would put forth. Moore says, "They've been very effective in terms of communicating to and being embraced by a Christian audience. This movie has a lot more creativity to it. And therefore, if you want to put it on the spectrum, it probably is more accurate to say this movie is inspired by the story of Noah." At the same time, Moore adds, "Our anticipation is that the vast majority of the Christian community will embrace it."
While we're not surprised to hear about the attempted pandering that Paramount Pictures attempted in order to get a sect of people known for crowding together to check out any pro faith-based film in theaters, we're glad that they came to their senses and let Aronofsky do what he was hired to do. The studio has still done plenty of pandering by having their "faith-based consultant" Grace Hill Media reach out to key religious figures by showing special trailers and raising awareness at churches and such. Whether the Christian audience turns out or not, we can't wait to see what Aronofsky has done with such a familiar story.