Darren Aronofsky Says 'Noah' Has The Most Complicated Effects Shot In ILM's History

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by Kevin Jagernauth
October 9, 2013 11:18 AM
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With a spring release date slated, Darren Aronofsky's fantastical take on the Biblical story of "Noah" still remains intriguingly under wraps. Aside from some select early stills, not much has been shown from the movie yet, unless you were lucky enough to be in the faith-based audience that got a special preview a couple months back. But the director is beginning to open up about the film, and he's promising a visual feast, and likely the most digital effects he's ever used on a picture. Starting with the animals, all of which were digitally rendered, albeit with a twist.

“We had to create an entire animal kingdom,” the director told DGA Quarterly. “All the animals in the movie are slightly tweaked; I didn’t want the clichéd polar bear, elephant, and lion walking onto the Ark; I didn’t want the shot of a giraffe’s head looking over the rail. I wanted to respect the storyline and think what would have been involved if it all really happened. We basically went through the animal kingdom and pinpointed the body types we wanted: some pachyderms, some rodents, reptiles, and the bird kingdom. We chose the species and they were brought to life with different furs and colors. We didn’t want anything fully recognizable but not completely absurd either.”

So needless to say, the effects work alone has been substantial, and in fact, Industrial Light & Magic have already told the director that one scene alone featured the most complicated computer rendering in their history. “It was a nice badge of honor. I don’t think it’s the most incredible shot, but I think because of all the hair on the animals it was incredibly complicated for them," Aronofsky revealed. "They said, ‘We can only render it two or three more times so make sure those are exactly right because they take so long and are so complex.’ ”

But this all begs the question—why not just use real animals? “I think we’ve learned from people who have done it before that that’s a really bad move,” he explained. “Politically it’s not a great thing to work with live animals and that’s becoming more apparent to people as time goes by, but also, technically, it would have been extremely difficult. And we’ve learned from lots of other films how hard it is to bring different kinds of animals together.”

How it all looks and comes together we're eager to see. "Noah" opens on March 28th.

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4 Comments

  • Robin E. Simmons | October 11, 2013 3:01 PMReply

    Where's the trailer? Isn't it currently making the rounds of "faith based" groups. Not sure if this is a good idea. It's far better for it to be perceived as an action adventure than a "religious" movie.

  • Jim Emerson | October 9, 2013 4:05 PMReply

    I look forward to Aronofsky's realistic feature film of "Humpty Dumpty." Sure hope it's believable.

  • Alan B | October 9, 2013 4:29 PM

    Oh, thank GOD I got Jim Emerson's take on the subject. I would have died without knowing that Emerson - who knows as much about film culture as he does about anything else (which is nothing) - doesn't like the director. Gee, anyone who says that he "didn't have to actually see "Les Misérables" to recognize the self-evident flaws" of Tom Hooper's take on the source material (among other deeply, deeply ignorant stances he's taken over the years) is clearly a cultured and witty guy. Thanks Jim for increasingly lowering the bar and being the Randy Newman of film criticism.

  • cirkusfolk | October 9, 2013 1:11 PMReply

    This saddens me. I am definitely not a fan of completely cgi animals or aliens etc. I never saw Life of Pi but I would like these effects to be even better than those. Also, I thought u guys reported Noah got pushed back to an unknown date next summer, which would seem more fitting.

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