From Noah to Climate Change Is a Leap, Director Says

But filmmaker Darren Aronofsky acknowledges his movie has an ecological message.

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 22: Filmmaker Darren Aronofsky participates in a panel discussion at the New York Times Cities for Tomorrow Conference on April 22, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for the New York Times)
National Journal
Christopher Snow Hopkins
See more stories about...
Christopher Snow Hopkins
April 27, 2014, 8 a.m.

The movie Noah, fea­tur­ing Rus­sell Crowe as the bib­lic­al char­ac­ter who res­cues Earth’s an­im­als from an apo­ca­lyptic flood, has gen­er­ated its own flood of de­bate since ar­riv­ing in theat­ers late last month.

Some en­vir­on­ment­al­ists em­brace the film as a call for ac­tion on cli­mate change, while some con­ser­vat­ives have at­tacked it as mis­an­throp­ic. “If you’re look­ing for a bib­lic­al movie, this is def­in­itely not it,” said one of the apostles of the far Right, com­ment­at­or Glenn Beck. “I don’t think it’s an en­vir­on­ment­al thing as much as it’s just so pro-an­im­al and an­ti­hu­man.”

To Noah‘s writer and dir­ect­or, Dar­ren Aronof­sky, the truth lies some­where in between. The film — pro­duced for an es­tim­ated $125 mil­lion, ac­cord­ing to the IM­DB web­site — might have an en­vir­on­ment­al mes­sage, but it’s mostly just a good show, Aronof­sky said last week at a pan­el dis­cus­sion sponsored the Cen­ter for Amer­ic­an Pro­gress.

“I was en­am­ored by this story, like most kids are,” Aronof­sky said at the event. “I re­lated al­ways to know­ing that I prob­ably wasn’t good enough to get on the boat. For me, it was a scary story.”

Ul­ti­mately, Aronof­sky con­ceded, Noah is neither a call to arms nor a polit­ic­al com­ment­ary. “We are just try­ing to make en­ter­tain­ment,” he said. Aronof­sky also dir­ec­ted Pi, Re­quiem for a Dream, The Foun­tain, The Wrest­ler, and Black Swan, for which he was nom­in­ated for an Academy Award.

When he was a teen­ager in Brook­lyn, Aronof­sky wrote a poem about Noah that al­most reads like a treat­ment for his fu­ture film. “Evil was in the world,” the poem be­gins. “The laugh­ing crowd left the fool­ish man and his ark filled with an­im­als when the rain began to fall.”¦ [Noah] knew evil could not be kept away for evil and war could not be des­troyed but neither was it pos­sible to des­troy peace.”

Shortly after that, in 1986, Aronof­sky was a 17-year-old kayak­ing on Alaska’s Prince Wil­li­am Sound when he ac­ci­dent­ally dropped a gran­ola-bar wrap­per in­to the sap­phire wa­ters. “It just killed me that I was the first per­son to pol­lute in Prince Wil­li­am Sound,” he said at the Cen­ter for Amer­ic­an Pro­gress event. “When I was a kid, there were places on the plan­et that were pretty un­touched.”

Three years later, the Ex­xon Valdez oil tanker ran aground in Prince Wil­li­am Sound, spill­ing more than 250,000 bar­rels of crude oil. The pristine body of wa­ter that had cap­tiv­ated Aronof­sky was known there­after as the site of one of the worst en­vir­on­ment­al dis­asters in U.S. his­tory. He likened the Ex­xon Valdez spill to the whole­sale de­struc­tion of Earth in Noah.

Aronof­sky said that Noah also was in­formed by re­cent en­vir­on­ment­al calam­it­ies like Hur­ricane Sandy, which shut down pro­duc­tion for a week when it struck the East Coast in Oc­to­ber 2012. He said he was as­ton­ished by “how quickly things fell apart in New York”¦. The pro­du­cer of our movie was hous­ing like eight fam­il­ies.”

Aronof­sky main­tained that the eco­lo­gic­al mes­sage of Noah is con­sist­ent with Scrip­ture.

“To try to re­move an eco­lo­gic­al mes­sage from the story of Noah is a big­ger edit job than to em­phas­ize it,” he said. “[Noah]’s sav­ing the an­im­als. He’s not look­ing for in­no­cent ba­bies. It’s not the story of Ab­ra­ham go­ing to So­d­om to find sev­en in­no­cent men. It’s about sav­ing the an­im­als, so there is clearly an eco­lo­gic­al mes­sage in there.”

MOST READ
What We're Following See More »
1.5 MILLION MORE TUNED IN FOR TRUMP
More People Watched Trump’s Acceptance Speech
14 hours ago
THE DETAILS

Hillary Clinton hopes that television ratings for the candidates' acceptance speeches at their respective conventions aren't foreshadowing of similar results at the polls in November. Preliminary results from the networks and cable channels show that 34.9 million people tuned in for Donald Trump's acceptance speech while 33.3 million watched Clinton accept the Democratic nomination. However, it is still possible that the numbers are closer than these ratings suggest: the numbers don't include ratings from PBS or CSPAN, which tend to attract more Democratic viewers.

Source:
×