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Acclaimed director Darren Aronofsky is reportedly at odds with Paramount over his Biblical epic Noah, as the two sides clash over how to release the film in March. The studio is nervous about the project after three test screenings earned mixed responses to the project.
According to sources for The Hollywood Reporter, Paramount recently held test screenings for three key groups that may take issue with the film. In New York, a largely Jewish audience got to see it, while in Arizona a test screening was held for Christians. There was also a general public screening in Orange County, California. All three resulted in troubling notices from the audience.
Aronofsky’s rep did not comment, but Paramount vice chairman Rob Moore told THR that this is normal and the film audiences will see on March 28 will be the “one version of the movie that Darren is overseeing.”
Still, THR notes that it’s not clear if the Black Swan director still has final cut. This is the director’s first big studio production (remember, he dropped out of The Wolverine) and he “is not made for studio films,” according to a source for THR. “He's very dismissive. He doesn't care about [Paramount's] opinion.”
Paramount has split the $125 million budget with Arnon Milchan's New Regency and it’s said that the budget has already gone well past that mark. The film is built heavily on CGI effects, as not only is the biblical flood created by computers, but so are the animals.
Another issue with the film might be the ending, as some fear that Arronofsky may be looking to take an environmentalist stand at the end, rather than sticking with the Bible story, in which the flood has destroyed everything but Noah and his ark.
UPDATE: Aronofsky's rep has sent a statement to Entertainment Weekly, calling the report false.
"This is a long and collaborative process, and Darren and the studio are working together to make the best version of his movie that they can," the statement reads. "To comment on anonymous quotes only gives time and space to false rumors and gossip."
image: Wikimedia Commons