Read what Emma Watson and Russell say about Darren Aronofsky’s Noah movie, which is already getting a lot of buzz and controversy.
Darren Aronofsky returns with another controversial film, Noah, chronicling the life of Noah and the biblical flood. Starring Russell Crowe in the titular role as well as Jennifer Connelly and Emma Watson, the movie has people buzzing
Known for his gritty and often disturbing films which include Black Swan and The Wrestler, Aronofsky’s take on the age old story of the Great Flood is a dark, melancholy look at one of the most widely known stories. An avid fan of the Old Testament since he was a teen, Aronofsky told ABC News of the process saying, “You don’t want to mess with [the story]. You just want to bring it to life and bring, breathe life into it.”
One of the film’s stars, Emma Watson, was initially skeptical of Aronosky’s vision. “To be honest, the idea of making a film of Noah seemed really cheesy to me – the dove and the rainbow, the two-by-two,” she he told The Entertainment Network. “Darren is the lord of darkness and grittiness and then he explained it to me as this really interesting post-apocalyptic world – not set in the past but not set in the future, and not a sandal in sight.”
Having nothing but praise for the director, Watson recounted the sensitivity of making a film about a subject so personal and controversial. “I think with any text there is always artistic license, you’re always looking at someone’s specific interpretation of it,” she told Sky News. “And I think [Aronofsky] has tried to be very sensitive, he has tried to be very mindful. He didn’t take the task lightly, it’s a very inclusive piece and I think it is very true to the spirit and the themes of the biblical story.”
Regardless of Aronofsky’s attempts to please, controversy was inevitable and many Christian groups are voicing their discontentment with the adaptation. “You have a whole bunch of people trying to pre-empt what it might be, but Darren’s been working on this since he was 17. He knows what’s he’s doing,” Russell Crowe told the Daily Mail.
“He’s read the translations of all the Bibles, from the Hebrew through to King James, and he’s seen the way the story gets changed and perverted,” he continued. Nevertheless, some Muslim countries are not convinced and have banned the film. “This story is contained in every religious text. Noah is in the Quran (Islam’s holy book),” he said to Express. “To be frank, given that it is a tenet of the Muslim religion that you can’t make stories or render images about the Prophet, it was not unexpected that some Islamic nations would ban the film.”
The role of Noah was a gruelling one and led to an emotional breakdown for Crowe after one particularly stressful scene. “We were doing a scene in Iceland where I had to fall into the sea … I’d been in and out of the sea, half-naked, filming all day … physically it was very demanding. There were these rain towers in the sky that could flood eight football fields in 30 seconds and it was constant rain. We had 36 days of it,” he explained to The New Zealand Herald. “It gets to the point where it’s like Chinese water torture. You can’t take it any more. I went into hypothermia. When we wrapped, I was lying on these stones and I couldn’t get up. I couldn’t stop shaking. I couldn’t stop crying.”
It was during the filming of this film that Crowe also received the devastating news that his wife of 11 years wanted a divorce.
Though the film seems to be a straight, dark retelling of the tale of the infamous floor, Watson says that there’s more to it than meets the eye. “It’s Shakespearean, what happens to this family when they’re put in this confined space for 40 days and 40 nights,” she explained in an interview for Elle. “It’s the end of the world — how these different human beings are dealing with the impact of that. Are humans good? Are we bad? All of these themes are epic.”
Noah hits theatres on March 28 and stars Russell Crowe, Emma Watson, Jennifer Connelly, Logan Lerman and Anthony Hopkins.