For a brief moment there, it looked like “Noah” was headed into some choppy waters. Reports surfaced last fall that Paramount and director Darren Aronofsky were clashing over the cut of the movie, with the studio concerned that the faith-based audiences they’re aiming to bring out to the multiplex weren’t responding at test screenings. But the waters have calmed, and with the movie washing ashore next month, Aronofsky’s vision has won out.
THR has an extensive piece about the making of the film, and Aronofsky is candid that things didn’t always go smoothly, saying quite honestly, “There was a rough patch,” and a particularly prickly one. Paramount went ahead “and tested as many as half-a-dozen of its own cuts of the movie,” and needless to say, the director was not pleased, saying, “I was upset — of course. No one’s ever done that to me.” Moreover, it’s a process he’s never used and doesn’t particularly believe in, especially when audiences are asked to comment on a film that, at the time, didn’t have all its visual effects in place, or score and ran too long (it was 2 1/2 hours, the final version is 2 hours and 12 minutes).
“I imagine if I made comedies and horror films, it would be helpful,” Aronofsky shares. “In dramas, it’s very, very hard to do. I’ve never been open to it.”
But at the end of the day, Paramount’s versions of the movie tested no better than Aronofsky’s early, rough cuts and ultimately, the studio put faith in the filmmaker and his challenging approach to the material. “They tried what they wanted to try, and eventually they came back,” Aronsofsky said. “My version of the film hasn’t been tested … It’s what we wrote and what was greenlighted.” And moreover, he’s proud that he kept his indie approach on the blockbuster film.
“I’m a great closer,” he said. “I’ve never reshot a frame, and I think that’s very odd on big-budget movies. We’re meticulous. We come from independent film, with limited resources.”
Whether audiences — faith based or not — show up is key, and we’ll see how it all goes when the movie opens on March 28th. Check out a couple new character posters below.