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Darren Aronofsky discusses not having final cut on Noah

02.12.2014

Back in October, we reported on discord between acclaimed director Darren Aronofsky and Paramount Pictures over control of the biblical epic NOAH. The studio, aiming to appeal to both general and religious audiences, had made alternate edits to the movie without Aronosfky's consent to try and market the film better. This also comes after news that Paramount would post-convert the film to 3D for select international markets.

Darren Aronofsky is best known for creating films that come from an independent mindset. His first films PI and REQUIEM FOR A DREAM were made outside of the major studios while his first true studio film, THE FOUNTAIN, encountered multiple issues at Warner Bros. After his biggest hit, BLACK SWAN, was self-financed, Aronofsky partnered with Paramount to make NOAH happen. Aronofsky will always stive to make the movie he wants while the studio has to protect their $125 million investment, no matter how brilliant the filmmaker is.

When asked by The Hollywood Reporter how he feels about the studio making edits without his consent, Aronofsky said this.

"I was upset -- of course," Aronofsky tells The Hollywood Reporter in his first extensive interview about the film's backstory. "No one's ever done that to me."

Aronofsky went on to discuss his dislike for NOAH to be test screened to begin with.

"I imagine if I made comedies and horror films, it would be helpful," he says. "In dramas, it's very, very hard to do. I've never been open to it." The studio also insisted that test audiences are sophisticated enough to evaluate movies without finished effects in place. "I don't believe that," he says.

Half a century ago, biblical epics were common Hollywood fodder, but in this modern era, studios need to be politically correct in what they release so as to maximize their product without alienating anyone. Films that skew too religious are looked at differently than films that can cater to everyone. But, there are films like THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST that can be big hits while also being controversial.

Despite Aronofsky's track record for making films, he did not receive final cut on NOAH. The finished film will run almost 140 minutes, but what version we will get will be open to debate. Aronofsky claims he and the studio are on the same page at this point, but that could be a front to avoid controversy.

My guys and I were pretty sure that because of the nature of the film and how we work, there wasn't another version," says Aronofsky. "That's what I told them … the scenes were so interconnected -- if you started unwinding scenes, I just knew there would be holes. I showed it to filmmaker friends, and they said the DNA was set in this film."

Some groups are already upset at the darker take on the NOAH story, saying it does not hold true to the Bible tale. Aronofsky, who co-wrote the movie, tried to be as true to the original tale as he could while also telling an epic, grand scale story ripe for the big screen.

"For people who are very literal-minded, it would be great to communicate that the themes of the film are very much in line with the themes of the Bible -- ideas about hope, second chances and family," he says. "If they allow that, they're going to have an incredible experience with the movie. If they don't allow it, it's theirs to lose."

Darren Aronofsky has yet to turn in a bad movie. Even his weakest films are still brilliant filmmaking exercises that should not be tampered with. NOAH, at it's worst, should still be a brilliant failure. Hopefully, it is just brilliant.

NOAH hits theaters on March 28th.

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