Paramount Pictures, and Hollywood in general, is acutely aware of what a benefit it is to have the Christian community on your side when promoting a film adapted from the Bible. Because of this, the studio has been working double time lately to keep its upcoming Noah in the good graces of the church. But at what cost? The film's director, Darren Aronofsky, is said to be none too pleased with some of the studio's efforts to win over Christian groups. They've added disclaimers and changed up all of the Noah's marketing materials without consulting with the Oscar-nominated director.
According to TheWrap, they've spoken to someone close to the situation who claims the director is not happy with the decision to pander to the religious groups. The film will apparently now open with this disclaimer:
The film is inspired by the story of Noah. While artistic license has been taken, we believe that this film is true to the essence, values, and integrity of a story that is a cornerstone of faith for millions of people worldwide. The biblical story of Noah can be found in the book of Genesis.
Aronofsky has wanted to make this film for 16 years, and painstakingly made certain decisions to tell the story a particular way. He's created his own, unique take on the ages-old story, and he's therefore very protective of the project.
The disclaimer was put in place to appease the National Religious Broadcasters organization, who were worried about "the controversy in the Christian community about [Aronosfky's] telling of story." With the disclaimer in place, though, an NRB board member thinks the community will be more openminded about it with the knowledge that the film is "more of an inspired movie than an exact retelling."
This follows several months of back-and-forth dialogue between the studio and the director, with each side presenting alternate cuts of the film. Aronofsky thinks the studio's main goal is to cater to a particular audience, while the studio claims to be supporting the director's vision.
Amongst the concerns of various religious groups is that the themes of the original story have been turned into an eco-friendly parable for present day life. "If you were expecting a Biblically faithful retelling of the story of the greatest mariner in history and a tale of redemption and obedience to God you'll be sorely disappointed,” wrote Brian Godawa, on Breitbart.com. “Noah paints the primeval world of Genesis 6 as scorched arid desert, dry cracked earth, and a gray gloomy sky that gives no rain – and all this, caused by man's ‘disrespect’ for the environment. In short, an anachronistic doomsday scenario of ancient global warming."
Of course, Godawa based that on reading an early draft of the script, and has since softened on his stance. "I critiqued the script and not the movie," he would later admit. He thinks these new measures by Paramount are smart, to counteract assumptions like the one he had made. "People are critiquing the movie without seeing it, so Paramount doing this is a good idea," he said.
With the success of Son of God last week, for Fox, Paramount is hoping that Christians are ready to embrace Noah with that same zest when it comes out on March 28.