It will be… interesting to see how receptive the masses are to Darren Aronofsky’s Noah. Although the project is officially described as “a close adaptation of the Biblical story of Noah’s Ark,” Aronofsky has made it no secret that he interprets Noah as being the first true environmentalist.
Thus, the Black Swan filmmaker’s big-budget treatment of the story portrays its titular protagonist as a man “who loves Earth and all of its animal inhabitants” – but faces a daunting test of faith and character, when he is instructed by God to preserve life on Earth in the wake of an impending (as Aronofsky has called it) “environmental apocalypse.”
Jennifer Connelly has long been rumored as a front-runner to appear in Noah as Naameth, the loyal wife and confidante to the well-known prophet (Connelly’s A Beautiful Mind costar, Russell Crowe). Variety is reporting that the actress has at last officially been offered the role, following several months of rumors – coupled with more recent stories, which indicated that Julianne Moore was also in the running for that role. However, it’s now being said that Connelly (who worked with Aronofsky before, on Requiem for a Dream) was actually involved with early table reads of the script, long before Crowe even came aboard. In other words: this part has pretty much belonged to the Oscar-winning actress for a while now.
Armed with a fantastic central cast – rounded out by people like Ray Winstone and Emma Watson – and a sizable budget to realize Aronofsky’s vision on the big screen, there’s reason to believe that Noah will have lots to offer moviegoers in terms of sheer visual splendor and powerful performances. But, again, there is reason to wonder: how will a version of the Noah’s Ark story that retains the more taboo elements of the source material – while playing up the main character as a “man of nature,” go over with the larger religious community?
Bear in mind, Noah also looks to focus heavily on the themes of redemption and sacrifice native to traditional renditions of the story. In fact, Winstone’s character has somewhat misleadingly (even by this writer) been referred to as a “nemesis” or villain, who opposes Noah. Based on preliminary details, though, it seems more accurate to describe him as the physical manifestation of Noah’s own fears and doubt – something difficult to get across in the film medium without, say, resorting to tedious amounts of exposition. That’s all to say: there’s reason to expect Noah will amount to far more than an effects-heavy, ham-fisted rallying cry about caring for the environment (a la The Day After Tomorrow).
Noah is scheduled to begin a theatrical release in the U.S. on March 28th, 2014.