"Noah" Director Darren Aronofsky recently said that his forthcoming Bible-themed flick is "the least biblical biblical film ever made."
"Noah is the least biblical biblical film ever made," Aronofsky told The New Yorker, according to The Guardian. He also commented on the poor test scores the film received from faith audiences as Paramount Pictures screened multiple versions of the film.
"I don't give a f*** about the test scores! My films are outside the scores," he was quoted as saying. "Ten men in a room trying to come up with their favorite ice cream are going to agree on vanilla. I'm the rocky road guy."
In one version, Paramount allegedly added religious images and a Christian rock song, in a reportedly fruitless attempt to appeal to a Christian audience.
"In December, Paramount tested its fifth, and 'least Aronofskian,' version of Noah: an 86-minute beatitude that began with a montage of religious imagery and ended with a Christian rock song," according to a profile in The New Yorker released this week. That version and others failed to resonate with the audiences. Aronofsky's version will make the final cut.
Paramount Pictures did not immediately respond to a request for comment by press time.
"Noah" has inspired controversy for months. A study of "Faith Driven Consumers" revealed that 98 percent would not be "satisfied with a biblically themed movie — designed to appeal to you — which replaces the Bible's core message with one created by Hollywood." Reviewers argued that the movie removed the meaning of sin from the biblical account, and twisted the story to fit a Hollywood agenda.
"This is not some attempt to tell the Bible story — they want to make it into an Action/Adventure," Dan Gainor, vice president of Business and Culture for The Media Research Center, told CP earlier. "It's laughable what's in the trailers."
Other Christian reviewers disagreed, arguing that the film remains true to the original biblical themes. "Sin is evident in the film, God's saving grace is evident in the film," Phil Cooke, founder and chief executive officer of Cooke Pictures, told CP last month. "The ark is amazing — I enjoyed seeing the movie just for the ark alone," Cooke said. "It's extremely, to the letter, the way the Bible describes it."
Dr. Ted Baehr, chairman of the Christian Film and Television Coalition and editor-in-chief of Movieguide, told CP earlier that none of the filmmakers' additions "takes away from the spine of the story." Baehr emphasized that "the primary message that comes out of the film is the depravity of man and the judgment of God."
At the end of February, Paramount released a disclaimer that the film has taken some license in storytelling, even though it accurately presents biblical themes. "While artistic license has been taken, we believe that this film is true to the essence, values, and integrity of a story that is a cornerstone of faith for millions of people worldwide," the statement, which will be presented in all future marketing materials, reads. It closes by directing viewers to the biblical story found in Genesis.
Nevertheless, multiple Middle Eastern countries have declared that "Noah" will be banned. Censorship boards in Qatar, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates told Paramount they will not allow the release of the film.
Leading Egyptian Sunni Muslim institute Al-Azhar issued a statement condemning the movie, and giving a brief explanation as to why Islamic nations might oppose "Noah." The institute declared that the film "is contrary to the faith and to the fundamentals of the Islamic Sharia (law)," and movies like it will antagonize the "feelings of the faithful." The film allegedly contradicts Muslim law by portraying a prophet.