Much as God found himself so displeased with the world, He demanded a new edit by flooding and killing everyone, Paramount is reportedly having its own second thoughts about Darren Aronofsky’s Noah, which has committed the unpardonable sin of performing poorly with test audiences. The Hollywood Reporter cites some typically vague “worrisome results” from recent screenings of Aronofsky’s $125 million-plus biblical epic, which were held for some of the key groups who might take an interest in seeing it and/or condemning it. According to the article, these included previews in “New York (for a largely Jewish audience), in Arizona (Christians) and in Orange County, Calif. (general public)”—all of which garnered “troubling reactions” that, without any further elaboration, we can only assume were, respectively, guilt trips (“Well, if that’s the movie you want to make…”), firing guns at the screen, and going to their tastefully appointed homes and resuming a life of banal evil. All very troubling, indeed.
It’s also possible that audiences took vocal issue with Aronofsky’s version of the familiar story of Noah and his animals going two-by-two onto his happiness boat, then setting sail for God’s rainbow—animals that, in this case, include some Aronofsky-imagined “fantastical beings,” as well as some “eleven-foot-tall fallen angels with six arms and no wings” that the faithful typically won’t find on their cross-stitches. Early script reviews also characterized Aronofsky’s take on the tale as “supernatural” and “violent” beyond merely the presence of Russell Crowe, while the filmmaker has said since the beginning that he views Noah both as a timely tale of “environmental apocalypse,” and a story of a “dark, complicated character”—one whose first act upon reaching dry land, he pointed out, was to get drunk and naked.
Yet, like God after realizing he really fucked up by allowing free will, Paramount is now reportedly attempting to drown out some of these more upsetting, albeit God-given elements—a process, despite rumors of Aronofsky’s resistance, the studio is characterizing as collaborative, perhaps just like God “collaborated” with Noah on His new vision of the world, by killing everything He didn’t like then telling Noah how it was going to be from now on. It’s unclear as yet whether Aronofsky still has the right to final cut or, with the studio picking up most of the budget, whether he’ll similarly have to go along with Paramount’s commands, then just deal with his own survivor’s guilt later. We hear getting drunk and naked helps with that.