Source: The Hollywood Reporter
Multiple sources say that with test screenings of various versions producing worrisome results, Aronofsky and Paramount have been at odds over the version of Noah that is set for release March 28. It’s not clear whether Aronofsky — whose most recent film, 2010′s Black Swan, grossed $329 million worldwide and won an Oscar for star Natalie Portman — has held on to his right to final cut. Aronofsky and his reps did not respond to requests for comment, but Paramount vice chairman Rob Moore says the film, which stars Russell Crowe as the seafarer, is going through a “normal preview process” and the result will be “one version of the movie that Darren is overseeing.”
In recent weeks, the studio has held test screenings for key groups that might take a strong interest in the subject matter: in New York (for a largely Jewish audience), in Arizona (Christians) and in Orange County, Calif. (general public). All are said to have generated troubling reactions. But sources say Aronofsky has been resistant to Paramount’s suggested changes. “Darren is not made for studio films,” says a talent rep with ties to the project. “He’s very dismissive. He doesn’t care about [Paramount's] opinion.”
The auteur director of films including The Wrestler, Pi and Requiem for a Dream, Aronofsky hasn’t been associated much with big studios or big effects pictures (a minor exception is The Fountain). But with Noah, he’s in deep with both. Paramount is splitting the cost, now past the original $125 million budget, with Arnon Milchan’s New Regency.
The use of visual effects has been so extensive that in some scenes, only an actor’s face is in the final image. The film relies on effects to create the flood, of course, but in addition, Noah doesn’t feature any real animals. Aronofsky said the creatures in the film are “slightly tweaked” versions of those that exist in nature, and there also are fantastical beings in the mix. The director recently told DGA Quarterly that Industrial Light & Magic had said it did the most complicated rendering in the company’s history for the film — “a nice badge of honor,” he said.
… (conjecture and speculation)
Moore says the studio knew going in that the film would be complicated and “allowed for a very long postproduction period, which allowed for a lot of test screenings.”
While Aronofsky “definitely wants some level of independence,” he adds, “he also wants a hit movie.” The bottom line: “We’re getting to a very good place, and we’re getting there with Darren.”