"Noah" Director Darren Aronofsky has responded to accusations that the titular character was portrayed as an "environmental wacko" in his movie, by arguing that in the Bible, Noah saved animals, not babies, on the ark.
"It's in Genesis," Aronofsky said in an interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour posted on Tuesday. "Noah is saving the animals; he's not out there saving innocent babies, he's saving the animals, he's saving creation."
"It was very clear to us that there was an environmental message. To pull that message out of it, we think, would have been more of an editing job than just sort of representing what's there."
The "environmental wacko" accusations largely stem from American screenwriter and author Brian Godawa, who in 2012 read an undated script of the movie and wrote an analysis:
"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," Godawa shared.
"While the Bible commands mankind to 'work and keep' the garden of earth as its stewards, the sin that brought about the judgment of the Flood was NOT violence against the environment as depicted in the script, it was violence against God and his image in man. That's no minor difference."
In the film, Noah (played by Russell Crowe) and his family are shown as farmers, caring for the soil, while the men of Tubal-Cain, descendants of Cain, who attack the ark, are portrayed as savage meat-eaters who show no regard for animal life.
In a follow-up article last week, after having seen the film, Godawa wrote that his initial analysis on the movie was correct, and that "the sick twisted agenda that seeps through every frame of this movie" is even worse than the script he read.
"Noah" also attracted controversy from Muslim groups, with a number of Islamic countries banning the movie for portraying biblical figures, though Aronofsky argued that people of different religions are providing a positive response to his project.
"Now that people are seeing the movie, the issues are really evaporating. In fact, it's being embraced a lot by all different religious groups, and people are excited by it because I think we deeply honored the words of Genesis," the director said.
He noted that the filmmakers "studied every word" of the Genesis story, describing it as the first "cautionary tale" – "If you are wicked, if you fill the world with wickedness, you will get punished."
Aronofsky also commented on a recent U.N. report, "Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability," which warned that the effects of climate change are spreading to every corner of the world, saying:
"And if you look at what's happening right now, the fact that here we are today and that U.N. report came out – you know, it's very powerful."
The "Noah" director, also famous for "The Wrestler" and "The Fountain," added, "The water is rising, and we already saw it once. We are living the second chance that was given to Noah."