So excited by the thinking that went into Noah, can’t wait to see it! Another great article by Steven D. Greydanus at the National Catholic Register, this time an interview with Aronofsky and co-writer Ari Handel. Excerpt:
SDG: The movie certainly includes a very compelling depiction of human wickedness. But there’s also one character outside Noah’s family, right before the flood, who seems innocent. Is this a problem for God’s justice in the film?
Aronofsky: When you look at real people in the world, we’re all a combination of good and wickedness. That’s the reality. The worst thing you can ever have as a bad guy is someone who’s completely bad. Really, you want a bad guy who has a good argument. It adds to true drama.
For us, the rules of this world are set up very clearly. This is the fourth story in the Bible. The first story is creation. The second is the original sin. Right after that is the first murder. And then after that everything is wicked, and we go into the Noah story.
Noah and his family are [heirs] of the original sin, just like Cain and his line. But to make everything black and white would be flimsy entertainment that doesn’t capture anything about real people. … It makes it a myth, not something that’s real. And we wanted to try to understand this as something that really happened.
So, of course, there was wickedness, and we show it. But to say that there’s some goodness and kindness in some people isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I think it adds to the truth and complexity of the human situation. So that character — who knows? She could have stolen. She could have done anything. We don’t know anything about her.
We wanted the audience to understand how much it grieved the Creator’s heart to destroy his creation. And part of what grieved his heart, I believe, is that there was, say, an innocent baby who was born five minutes before the flood happened. Methuselah died in the flood. All those animals that didn’t get on the ark that were part of his creation [died too].
Handel: The image a lot of people probably have of how God feels even toward anyone who’s wicked is that there’s love there. So there’s no question that killing all these people, whatever they may have been, had to be incredibly difficult. We wanted to feel that difficulty. It’s very easy to say, “These are the bad guys; they should die. These are the good guys; they shouldn’t die.”
But as Darren said, you flip the page after Noah and his family are saved, and you’re at Babel. You’re at drunkenness and the cursing of Canaan.
Aronofsky: Noah’s a real human being in incredible circumstances, and through them, he becomes a prophet. And you identify with him. That’s my understanding of the Christ story: that he came down to experience life as a real man, and we can all identify with him.