(Photo: Paramount Pictures)
Actress Jennifer Connelly weighed in on the controversy over "Noah," saying that the upcoming Darren Aronofsky film is true to the spirit of the biblical story. She also stressed that religious leaders who have seen the movie are supporting and embracing the project.
"What you'll find is that the controversy that was generated by people who were speculating hadn't seen the film yet, for the most part. We're now getting feedback from religious leaders who have seen the film and are really embracing it and supporting it," Connelly, who plays Noah's wife Naameh, shared with ABC's "Good Morning America" on Thursday.
"Really, it's true to the spirit of the story in the Bible."
"Noah" has drawn criticism from some Christians who believe the film does not adhere to the biblical account. A Faith Driven Consumer survey in February revealed that Christians would not support a biblically-themed movie which replaces the Bible's core message. Evangelist Ray Comfort even announced that on March 28, the same day that Aronofsky's film is released, he will be releasing his own version of the story, "Noah and the Last Days," on Youtube and DVD.
While Aronofsky has admitted that "Noah" takes creative liberties with the story presented in Genesis, he has insisted that it remains true to the message.
"The controversy is all about the unknown and about the fear of people trying to exploit a Bible story," Aronofsky said. "It will all disappear as soon as people start seeing the film."
A studio disclaimer attached to the movie also warns that it takes "artistic license," but stays true to the "essence, values, and integrity of a story that is a cornerstone of faith for millions of people worldwide."
Air Handel, co-writer of the film, stressed in a newly released video that adhering to the biblical account of Noah was "very important" to them.
"It was very important to us to do two things at the same time: one was to not do anything which contradicted the letter of the text, and the second was wherever we could – without contradicting Genesis – we wanted to break expectations. So we went very deep," he stated.
Guy Noland, executive producer of the Salvation Army Vision Network, threw his support behind the film.
"Were they able to maintain the biblical truths of the Noah story? I would say yes, absolutely, they were," Noland said.
As the filmmakers have also noted, Connelly pointed out that not much of anything is written about her character in the Bible, and that the entire Noah story only fills a few pages.
The actress said that the screenplay presents a character who is a "very devoted, very committed, wife and mother, also very strong emotionally," and added that she did her own research on women of that time period.
"I also read other parts of the Bible for inspiration," Connelly said.