Darren Aronofsky's Russell Crowe-starring biblical epic Noah is apparently facing a—forgive the pun—flood of troubles. The Hollywood Reporter's Kim Masters reports that Aronofsky and Paramount are now fighting over the final cut following "troubling reactions" from test screenings geared toward religious (both Christian and Jewish) audiences.
Aside from the film going over its $125 million budget with an enormous amount of visual effects—there are no real animals in the movie—it's sort of unclear what exactly has Paramount concered. While Masters doesn't explicitly spell out what the audience's problems were, she writes that the "major challenge has been coming up with an exciting third act that doesn't alienate the potentially huge Christian audience (in the Bible, Noah and the ark's inhabitants survive the flood that destroys the Earth)."
Masters looks at reactions from members of the faith community who voiced their opinions on the script, people like Brian Godawa, who wrote a blog post last called "Darren Aronofsky's Noah: Environmentalist Wacko" last October. The post articulated why Godawa found the screenplay "deeply anti-Biblical in its moral vision," explaining that Noah cares too much about animals and that the Flood plays out like "an anachronistic doomsday scenario of ancient global warming." And that's not appropriately biblical, it would seem.
That said, Peter T. Chattaway wrote in July at Patheos that he thinks "it’s worth noting that it looks like Aronofsky’s film will be more ambiguous or ambivalent than some of its critics are currently giving it credit for." Hilary Lewis of The Hollywood Reporter even reported that an audience at the Christian Echo Conference reacted positively to footage of the film. (As for the reaction from the more secular entertainment world, Drew McWeeny at HitFix wrote of the script that "it is a violent, freaky, scary world that Aronofsky and his co-writer Ari Handel have created")
Since Masters' most recent report came out, people who have seen a version the film have come out on Twitter to voice their opinions on the film.
Haha. There's no way Paramount can reedit the third act of NOAH to appease Christian audiences.— Andrew Woods (@JimJarmuschHair) October 16, 2013
They better not attempt to soften up the cut of NOAH I saw. It might be Aronofsky' best film when its all said and done. That simple.— Brian Pachinger (@Bwpachinger) October 15, 2013
For now, it's unclear what's going to happen with Noah. A talent rep associated with the film told Masters that Aronofsky is " very dismissive. He doesn't care about [Paramount's] opinion," while Paramounts Rob Moore explained to THR, "We're getting to a very good place, and we're getting there with Darren."