“For me, you just keep going. You keep trying to do original things. You want to break expectations. With Noah, I wanted to break expectations of what a Biblical epic was, because no one has done one in 50 years.”
It was Tuesday morning in Mexico City and myself and three other journalists (Peter Sciretta from /Film, Alex Billington from First Showing, and Nathan Adams from Temple of Reviews) were meeting with Darren Aronofsky at the St. Regis Hotel. We had just seen the director’s latest film, Noah (which we reviewed very positively), the night before and were now sitting down with him for brunch.
It’s only been in recent years that Aronofsky has emerged from his private life and into the public sphere. For most of his career, the visionary director has shied away from press and opted to stay out of the spotlight.
“For a while you were known as this mysterious, Malick-esque figure. No one can ever reach you” quipped Alex. “It was like he put on the scarf and then he put up a wall” joked Peter.
Currently on a promotional tour to support the film, not even the big razzle dazzle of the fancy premieres that Paramount has set up are gelling with the director. For him, he’d rather the studio have used the money to get a few extra shots in his film. “It was a huge, huge mistake that venue,” said Darren when speaking about the Pepsi Center in Mexico City, which is where Noah was screened the night before.
“I think they were more excited about setting up that ridiculous thing outside the theatre. It was nice, but it was too lavish. I fought for every single dollar on this movie, and then to go last night and see the money they put into setting it all up….It’s like, well I could have used two more shots here and a shot there. That event last night could have funded 12 big shots. I’m not into this type of stuff. It’s very strange for me.”
He wasn’t too happy with the crowd that was in attendance either, as cellphones, babies and people walking in and out throughout the entire film were a common occurrence.
“Make sure you see it again though before you write anything more about it. We’ll set up another screening so you can watch it for a second time. I can’t even handle it when there’s one fucking dude texting, so I can only image what that hell was like for you guys,” said Darren.
If you’ve been following the development of Noah over the past year or two, you’re probably aware that it’s a very personal project for the director. He first stumbled upon the idea of telling his own version of the story when he was a 13-year-old student in Brooklyn. Darren was assigned to write a poem about peace and came up with something related to the classic Biblical tale of Noah’s ark.
“I actually just had it scanned and sent to me,” replied the director when we asked about the poem that inspired the film. “Let me read you some of it.” Opening it up on his phone, he started reading, “evil is hard to end and peace is hard to begin, but the rainbow and the dove will always live within every man’s heart…..It goes on but it’s a little embarrassing,” said Darren with a laugh.
Now, more than three decades later, Aronofsky is finally bringing his vision to the big screen and as expected, it’s going to divide people right down the middle.