Thursday, 6 October 2011

Darren Aronofsky finds funding for dream project 'Noah'

Great news emerged this week as Paramount agreed to fund Darren Aronofsky's dream project, a film about the biblical character of Noah. Aronofsky has been talking about this project for several years but started speaking of it more frequently after the release of Black Swan, the biggest success of his career. For this epic biblical adventure the price was set at around $130million, because of the type of story and the sheer level of production I (even as a massive fan of the director) seriously doubted that he would be granted the chance to film his dream project. Having always been fascinated with the character since a young age Darren wrote a poem entitled 'The End of the World Through the Eyes of Noah' which won a school competition, now having proved himself as one of the most exciting and daring filmmakers working in commercial cinema he gets the chance to bring his passion from the page to the big screen. The film's script has been written by Aronofsky himself and his collaborator Ari Handel and will get a treatment/polish from Gladiator writer John Logan. At the moment production is hinted at starting Spring 2012.

In the past Aronofsky has had serious trouble getting projects made, his previous dream project The Fountain (2006) nearly ended the director after well into production Brad Pitt exited the the film and subsequently caused the film's budget to be cut in half. In stepped Hugh Jackman to save the day, the film was considerably changed due to financial strain and upon release was butchered by the critics and ignored by the public. Who knows what the film could have become without the misfortune of Brad Pitt's departure but it still remains an extraordinary film that holds up years later. Apart from The Fountain the rest of Aronofsky's films are not as epic in scope and are of a rougher guerrilla style of filmmaking. This is one of the main things that initially attracted me to him as an artist; whereas The Fountain riffed from cinematic greats such as Kubrick, Malick, Herzog, and Tarkovsky the main body of Aronofky's work has more in common with the early works of then indie artists Jim Jarmusch and Spike Lee. Aronofsky even credit's Spike Lee's She's Gotta Have it (1986) as his inspiration to become a filmmaker, it shows too. So after the failing of The Fountain Aronofsky took it back to basics; a script with lots of room for improvisation, a small crew and a camera minus a tripod. The film that formulated was the much celebrated comeback for Mickey Rourke The Wrestler (2008), his most recent film Black Swan also took a similar bare bones approach to its material.

Many projects have looked promising for Aronofsky in the past but misfortune has fallen on these too, he exited The Wolverine most recently probably due to Fox's artistic shortsightedness. Long before that Aronofsky was set to relaunch Batman but was dropped from the project when Warner Bros weren't prepared to take the leap of faith that Aronofsky and Frank Miller required, Aronofsky already had Christian Bale attached, insteps Chris Nolan and the rest is history. Bale and Aronosfky nearly worked with each other again on The Fighter, a film that he was set to direct but only stood in as executive producer when he left after Black Swan got the green light. For his upcoming Noah it is Christian Bale that Aronofsky wants as the title character so let's hope it's third time lucky with this one because the thought of this collaboration is simply too good to not happen.

One of the main things that Aronofsky does so well when approaching his films is match the right visual language that the story he's telling needs. That's why I compared the difference between The Fountain and The Wrestler, both made by the same filmmaker but they could not be more different. Aronofsky has definite themes that run through his work (Obsession, the frailty of the body/mind) and he is a very stylish director but he never forces himself onto a film, he lets the visual representation of the story develop organically. So many directors force their style onto whatever they do, sometimes the results might be breathtaking but other times it suffocates the material. So with Noah its exciting to think where the film could be taken because we never know where Aronofsky will take each project he faces, as his career has evidently shown so far.

Below are images from the concept art of Noah that have been produced so far:

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