5 Interesting Pieces of Trivia About "Noah"

Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures
March 25th, 2014

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The 2014 movie "Noah" is loosely based on the Biblical story about the man of the same name. Noah foresees a massive flood and aims to protect his family by creating a large ark that holds numerous animals. The film, which stars Russell Crowe as Noah, boasts the tagline, "Rediscover the epic story of one man and the most remarkable event in our history."

Director Darren Aronofsky's version of the film made the final cut after Paramount Pictures showed rough-cut variations of the film to several different groups. These versions did not impress Christian audiences, as they were not true to the Biblical story. Aronofsky felt upset after learning of these alternate versions of his film. He thought that those versions were not true to his vision. After much discussion and compromise, Paramount Pictures decided to put the original Aronofsky version into theaters. This is the version that was approved yet not test-screened.

Every single animal in "Noah" was created via computer generated images, or CGI. The animals are not exact replicas of actual animals but are slightly tweaked. Industrial Light and Magic took over the creation of the CGI animals for the film. Aronofsky had to think about what animals were truly involved in the Biblical story without taking away from the film's storyline. The producers and ILM went through the animal kingdom to find body types they wanted for the film's animals, such as rodents, reptiles, pachyderms and birds. One of the difficulties for ILM was placing all the hair on the animals as it was difficult for the company to render the exact same animals too many times. Despite this difficulty, Aronofsky preferred using CGI animals instead of real animals because not only are there legal issues with using live animals, but mixing different live animals together, particularly those that are found together in the wild naturally, presents issues. Additionally, even trained animals are difficult to control under the best circumstances.

Due to the particular religious nature of the film, "Noah" has been banned in several Islamic countries, such as Egypt, Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. These countries specifically cite the purpose of their ban as contradicting the teachings of Islam and provoking the feelings of believers because it portrays a prophet. The Al-Azhar institute states that having an actor portray a prophet "contradicts the stature of prophets and messengers... and antagonizes the faithful." Muslims believe Jesus was a prophet and was not crucified. Paramount Pictures and the National Religious Broadcasters body put out a statement explaining the film as a dramatization and not a line-by-line retelling of the biblical story of Noah.

One of Aronofsky's wishes while promoting "Noah" in Rome was to have a private meeting with the tolerant Pope Francis. Unfortunately, the pope's representatives said that was not possible and that the Pope Francis does not watch movies, so filmmakers were unable to gain the Pope's blessings for this religious film. Despite not gaining a private meeting with the Pope, Aronofsky, Crowe, producer Scott Franklin and Paramount Pictures Vice Chairman Rob Moore did attend the March 18, 2014, "udienza generale," or General Audience where thousands of faithful Christians were able to see the Pope. Aronofsky and Crowe, particularly, were in awe of the experience, with Aronofsky saying the Pope's stewardship and human responsibility to the world are both inspirational and extremely important, according to the LA Times. Crowe posted several photos on his Twitter account of his experience at the Vatican.

Aronofsky has been fascinated with the story of Noah for many years. As he thoroughly researched for the film, he found many different discrepancies between some depictions of the Biblical story and what the Bible actually said. For instance, the ark in the movie mimics the description of the ark in the Book of Genesis and is unlike the popular depiction of a houseboat with a rounded keel and captain's quarters. The movie ark is more like a giant rectangular box. The film also depicts what the world was like before the deluge. This includes fallen angels walking on the earth and a setting that is more than just a Middle Eastern desert. The film is written as an artistic endeavor that relies on audiences to consider the symbols and forms.

While several actors and actresses were considered for various roles in "Noah," Russell Crowe earned the role of Noah. Emma Watson plays Ila, Jennifer Connelly plays Naameh, Noah's wife, and Logan Lerman plays Ham. Tubalcain is played by Ray Winstone. Despite the research and actors' portrayals, audience members need to keep in mind that this film is not a word-for-word Biblical rendering but more of an artistic representation of the ideas presented in the Christian Bible.