Darren Aronofsky and Paramount are at odds over the final cut of Noah
Multiple sources have told THR that Paramount and Darren Aronofsky are battling over the final cut for NOAH. The studio has recently been holding test screenings for the film, and they are concerned with the results. The screenings have been for key groups who might have more of an interest in the subject matter than others in New York City (largely Jewish audience), in Arizona (Christians) and Orange County, California (general public). Apparently Paramount hasn't liked the reactions for NOAH, and the studio has suggested some "helpful" changes to Aronofsky, although it isn't known if the director owns the final cut of the film or not.
But Darren Aronofsky is resisting, and according to one source, "Darren is not made for studio films. He's very dismissive. He doesn't care about [Paramount's] opinion."
The problem seems to be the third act for NOAH, which some say may alienate or offend Christian movie goers. That's not good for Paramount, who is expecting a large turnout from Christians for NOAH. Aronofsky has previously described Noah as "the first environmentalist," and how the character is represented in the film is rubbing some people the wrong way.
Several members of the faith community have already expressed concerns for NOAH. Brian Godawa got his hands on one version of the script, and in an online summary titled "Darren Aronofsky's Noah: Environmentalist Wacko," said it will be "an uninteresting and unbiblical waste of a hundred and fifty million dollars that will ruin for decades the possibility of making a really great and entertaining movie of this Bible hero."
Mark Joseph (who has worked on the marketing for films such as RAY and THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE) hasn't been to a test screening for NOAH, but is worried it is "an example of a director not listening to those voices that would have been warning of the dangers of veering too far away from the biblical text. The director is there to serve the studio and the audience, not veer off into directions that go against the core audience's beliefs -- at least if the goal is to get them to come to the theater." Joseph also says Paramount knew there would be some issues with the film and "allowed for a very long postproduction period, which allowed for a lot of test screenings."
But Paramount vice chairman Rob Moore says Noah is going through a "normal preview process" and the outcome will be "one version of the movie that Darren is overseeing."
Meanwhile, God has not made any public comments on the situation with NOAH.
I'm on Darren Aronofsky's side with this, but Paramount does have a right to be concerned. The budget for NOAH is over $125 million, and like all investments, the studio expects a return. It's going to be hard if the people most likely to see NOAH (Christians) are upset with how the material is handled.
However, Paramount did hire Darren Aronofsky, and they should trust his vision. NOAH might not be the film some Christians want, but there are plenty of people (regardless of faith) who are very interested in the project. Hell, I'm an atheist and I can't wait to see NOAH. Knock on wood that Paramount doesn't make Aronofsky change his film too much, if at all, and it won't have a negative impact on NOAH.
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|Extra Tidbit:||Five months until the release date and still no trailer for NOAH?|