Jack Crutcher discusses Darren Aronofsky’s cinematic turn from the balletic to the biblical
As with any screen adaptation of a best-selling book, you could say there are certain risks that come with the journey from page to screen. But unlike other projects of this nature, the film in question is attempting to re-create one of the best known stories the Bible ever told. This really begs the question, why would anybody want to take on the pressure of adapting a book that can claim to have changed the world and that still consistently sells millions of copies worldwide, centuries after it was first published?
This coming March Noah will, god willing, arrive in UK cinemas with a fair amount of hype already surrounding its public image. Director Darren Aronofsky has assembled an eye-catching cast for, what he and Paramount Pictures will hope turns out to be, an equally eye-catching epic. Russell Crowe will take on the role of Noah, Jennifer Connelly will play Noah’s wife Naameh and Anthony Hopkins stars as Noah’s Grandfather, Methuselah. Emma Watson, Ray Winston and Kevin Durand also star in what shapes up to be an impressive, if not dangerously weighty cast. With so many big names on show and the stories Biblical origins making it such a visceral work to millions, the pressure and expectation on this film to succeed, where similarly brave projects have historically failed, could not be higher. And it is fair to say that production has not gone as smoothly as Aronofsky and Paramount would have liked.
Last month it emerged that initial screenings of Noah intended to gauge public reaction to its take on the original story had not gone to plan. Feedback from Christian and Jewish audiences in New York were far from positive, and said reaction has since caused a dispute between Aronofsky and production company Paramount. Paramount have preceded to show different cuts of the movie to varying audiences in an effort to figure out which cut will best please the broadest demographic of people. Ultimately Aronofsky wants artistic license to make the film he envisaged, and Paramount perhaps understandably, want a film that will bring commercial success in an increasingly competitive market, leading to deadlock.
It is not a surprise that a film which deals with a story so integral to the beliefs of millions of people worldwide is proving difficult to find a balance between the art of cinema and the cold reality of finding acceptance in a money making industry. Whether Noah turns out to be Biblically accurate or not remains a contentious issue – does it need to be? That may depend on your religious conviction. However its commercial success is more than probable. Aronofsky has had almost unencumbered success with past work and boasts a portfolio that includes both Black Swan and Requiem for a Dream. With the impressive cast and a film-loving public desperate for a Gladiator-esque blockbuster, with scale and conviction a plenty (enter Russell Crowe), Noah has every chance of making floods of money in 2014.
UK Release Date: 28th March 2014.