While most filmmakers just make it the CGI-way, Darren Aronofsky is taking a page out of Christopher Nolan's build-it-and-they-will-believe practical effects route and is constructing a full-scale Ark for his adaptation of the Biblical tale "Noah." Aronofsky took to Twitter recently and unveiled a massive-scale ark under construction, saying: "I dreamt about this since I was 13. And now it's a reality. Genesis 6:14." (Incidentally, that Bible quote is: "So make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out.")
Frankly, we're a bit shocked Paramount is bankrolling such an expensive project, that on the surface doesn't have four-quadrant, tentpole qualities. It's doubly strange considering that, to date, Aronofsky hasn't really been a guy who has raked in big bucks at the multiplex. While "Black Swan" was an anomaly that surprised everyone, cruising to over $100 million domestically (and over $300 million worldwide), his movies have generally taken in well under $50 million. But it seems the this won't be your priest's or pastor's or rabbi's or whoever's story about Noah.
Details from the screenplay, written by Aronofsky and Ari Handel, have leaked (via Hitfix), and while the original tale is, well, biblical in its scope of a disastrous flood that blankets the planet in water, wiping out its population, precipitating the titular protagonist to presciently build an ark that will safely house all of the globe's creatures, Aronofsky's version sounds like it's also going to have violent, supernatural elements as well.
"It is a violent, freaky, scary world that Aronofsky and his co-writer Ari Handel have created. I’m particularly excited to see how Aronofsky brings to life the Watchers, eleven-foot-tall fallen angels with six arms and no wings. They have a major presence in the script, and they’re fascinating. Early on, when Noah needs to go see his grandfather, he has to move through the homeland of the Watchers, something that is not easy to do," Drew McWeeney wrote, adding: "He’s written this as a serious look at our place on this planet and our rights as citizens of the world. I think it would be hard to pin this version of the story down to any one faith, and in shaking off the dusty respectability of the accepted version of the story, Aronofsky and Handel may have actually found a way to give it a stronger thematic resonance than I would have imagined."
So, from a studio perspective, this is bringing the all-important spectacle they're looking for. Paramount's not in the business of making $100+ million dramas, and this certainly won't be a movie with Russell Crowe's Noah searching for cypress wood and wondering about his faith. And as fans know, the story has already been published as a graphic novel. /Film hit up the site of Le Lombard, the publishers of the book, and found a bit more about the unique take Aronofsky is bringing to the story in the official synopsis:
His name is Noah. Far from the stereotype of the patriarch that one appends the character of the Bible, he looked like a warrior. He looks like a Mad Max out of the depths of time. In the world of Noah, pity has no place. He lives with his wife and three children in a land barren and hostile, in the grip of severe drought. A world marked by violence and barbarism, delivered to the savagery of the clans that draw their reason to survive from war and cruelty.
But Noah is like no other. This is a fighter and also a healer. He is subject to visions which announce the imminent end of the earth, swallowed by the waves of an endless deluge. Noah must notify his followers. If man is to survive, he must end the suffering inflicted on the planet and “treat the world with mercy”. However, no one is listening.
The tyrant Akkad, who Noah went to visit in the city of Bal-llim, chased him and sentenced him to flee. After consulting with his grandfather Methuselah, Noah decided to rally to his cause the terrible Giants and accomplish the task entrusted to him by the Creator…
There's no doubt that what Aronofsky is cooking up is epic, and easily his biggest production to date. But we'll have to wait. Even though "Noah" begins principal photography in the early fall, the picture won't hit theaters until March 28, 2014.