Aronofsky and Paramount are feuding over 'Noah'
Having final cut is important to auteurs. Most studios - and almost all of the major ones - finance movies for one thing: to make a profit. Directors understand this, though getting final cut of a project they've worked on for months and often years is the very least that filmmakers ask.
It seems a dispute over the issue has erupted between Darren Aronofsky and Paramount regarding final cut of the $125 million epic Noah after troubling reactions from Jewish audiences in New York, Christians in Arizona and the general public in Orange County in California.
Multiple sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that Aronofsky and Paramount have been at odds over the version of Noah that will get a full release on March 28. It's still not clear whether the director - whose last effort Black Swan grossed $329 million worldwide and won an Oscar for Natalie Portman - has held onto the right to final cut.
Paramount vice chairman Rob Moore said the biblical epic - starring Russell Crowe - is going through a "normal preview process" at that the result will be "on eversion of the movie that Darren is overseeing."
Nevertheless, the studio has been testing Noah for key groups that may take a strong interest in the subject matter, Jewish, Christians and general movie fans. All are said to have generated troubling reactions.
"Darren is not made for studio films," said a talent rep involved in the project, "He's very dismissive. He doesn't care about [Paramount's] opinion."
The man behind The Wrestler, Pi and Requiem for a Dream, Aronofsky has never before handled a $125 million dollar film. The movie is a huge gamble for Paramount, which is splitting the cost with Arnon Milchan's New Regency.
The use of visual effects has been so extensive that only an actor's face is visible in the final image. Of course, re-telling the story of Noah and the Arc relies on effects but the film doesn't even contain real animals.
Of course, another major challenge behind Noah is avoiding alienating a potentially huge Christian audience. This is what will concern Paramount most. Aronofsky just wants to make a great movie.
On top of the underwhelmed Christians at the preview screenings, writer Brian Godawa obtained a version of the script in 2012 and posted his summary online under the heading, Darren Aronofsky's Noah: Environmentalist Wacko. He concluded that Noah will be "an uninteresting and unbiblical waste of a hundred and fifty million dollars that will ruin for decades the possibility of making a really great and entertaining movie of this Bible hero."
Noah hits theaters on March 28, 2014.
Russell Crowe Stars as Noah In Aronofsky's Movie