Aronofsky's Cut of 'Noah' Untouched by Studio & Wasn't Screen Tested
by Ethan Anderton
February 12, 2014
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.
If a studio wants to have their own cut, they should have directed the flick themselves. I fully support the directors having their own vision - in the end, the viewer makes his own choice to like the director's vision or not. Stop making big studios weakening the power of the director...
Joe Kundlak on Feb 12, 2014
But on the other hand it's the studio which gives the money. And in this case it's over $100M. The director should have the chance to make a movie which sticks to his vision but he should be also aware of the conditions of making a movie for a big Hollywood studio. In the end it's about selling a movie. And selling a movie like this isn't easy for sure.
Me on Feb 12, 2014
Selling a movie like this isn't easy? Have you seen the trailers or the posters? It looks like Gladiator Part 2!
Marcus on Feb 12, 2014
Yeah, so people will definitely go to see it because it looks like "Gladiator 2".
Me on Feb 13, 2014
Hey, that's just my guess. I can't see directly into the eyes of the masses that only want to see these big action/adventure movies in cinemas and not a gem like Blue is the Warmest Color. If the studios are determined to make the big buck, then promoting it through social media and TV spots like the second coming of Gladiator was not a bad idea. I'm just very certain that Aronofsky has way more to offer than the standard blockbuster.
Marcus on Feb 13, 2014
Well, I am of the belief that art sells itself and that nowadays people should learn to WANT to appreciate something, rather than to sit in front of the screen and eat that cake, in order to eat another tomorrow... Too bad those times-they-are-a-changin...
Joe Kundlak on Feb 13, 2014
In a perfect world every kind of art can sell itself maybe. But in this case, talking about a movie which cost over $100M to produce, the producers cannot sit doing nothing and wait for profit. And Aronofsky should know that. I assume that he is a very intelligent person and therefore should be grateful that there was a studio which gave him money so that he can "make art". And don't expect from the mass that they will go and see an independent movie which cost $1M or so. As you say, people should want to appreciate something. And believe me - those who want it, will do this. But the rest - you have to sell it.
Me on Feb 13, 2014
"this film isn't necessarily the kind of project that The History Channel would put forth." Not enough Aliens, eh?
Dan Hibiki on Feb 12, 2014
cuckoozey on Feb 13, 2014
I was never worried it would be "whitewashed", since Aronofsky is already pretty white himself 🙂
DavideCoppola on Feb 12, 2014
i only like movies that are cut by studios. Why would anyone want to see a movie that came from the director himself?
Snowmanfloza on Feb 12, 2014
Yeah, and I prefer that the catering department write and perform the score for the movie. Why would you want a composer and musicians to do it when you can have somebody unqualified to do it instead? All it takes it test screenings to make a movie these days...
BigJimSlade on Feb 12, 2014
Good for paramount. With Wolf of Wall Street and now this, it's great seeing a big studio taking some risks.
movieguyryan . on Feb 13, 2014
Except they made Scorsese cut Wolf. That's not so risky..
DavideCoppola on Feb 13, 2014
Scorcese wanted to cut down Wolf.
movieguyryan . on Mar 1, 2014
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