If non-literal biblical adaptations don't float your boat Paramount's going to make good and sure you and everyone else know that Darren Aronofosky's "Noah" is not 100 percent, to-the-letter faithful to its scriptural source material.
The studio is responding to pressure from various faith-based groups, spearheaded by the National Religious Broadcasters, and will append a message to new trailers and marketing materials clearly stating that the $125 million movie is not a verbatim retelling of the familiar Judeo-Christian tale.
Watch 'Noah' Super Bowl Spot:
The text will read:
"The film is inspired by the story of Noah. While artistic license has been taken, we believe that this film is true to the essence, values, and integrity of a story that is a cornerstone of faith for millions of people worldwide. The biblical story of Noah can be found in the book of Genesis."
Paramount's vice chairman, Rob Moore, said in a statement that the studio was "deeply appreciative" to NBR for suggesting the solution. "Our goal has been to take every measure we can to ensure moviegoers have the information they need before deciding to buy a ticket to see the film. We are very proud of [director] Darren Aronofsky's 'Noah.' We think audiences all over the world will enjoy this epic film."
In return, Jerry A. Johnson, the CEO and president of NRB, issued a statement of appreciation on behalf of his organization, heralding Paramount for "striving ... to strike a proper balance between artistic creativity, character development, and honoring the sacred Scripture." Johnson even went so far as to say, "Many people will go to this film and enjoy it."
Members of the NRB had screened clips of the movie at the International Christian Media Convention in Nashville earlier this week. They also screened "Son of God," a film that has the group's unqualified endorsement and has not sparked the same kind of backlash as "Noah" among devout moviegoers.
("Son of God" earned a 4.5- (out of 5) star review and a promise of heavy patronage by Faith Driven Consumer. This organization, responsible for the I Stand With Phil "Duck Dynasty" response movement, recently released a study which indicated that upwards of 98 percent of Christians would not be "satisfied with a biblically themed movie... which replaces the Bible's core message with one created by Hollywood." In a point disputed by Paramount, the group claimed the data showed "Noah" would have trouble gaining traction among FDC's core demographic.)
Watch 'Noah' Teaser Trailer:
But after the earlier dustup over "Noah," FDC has softened its antipathy following Paramount's decision to add the new statement. "We thank Paramount for its decision to issue an explanatory message on 'Noah.' Information made available to Faith Driven Consumer gives us a sense that Paramount is taking steps to respect, connect with and reach out to the core faith audience of this film," said FDC publicist Chris Stone. "The Faith Driven Consumer community is eager for entertainment choices that resonate with them, and we will continue to encourage Hollywood as it works to provide those options."
"Noah" has faced rough patches on its path to theaters.
Even before the battle over scriptural accuracy erupted this month, Paramount reportedly sparred with Aronofsky over the final cut of the film because the studio was sensitive to how it would be accepted by evangelical moviegoers. Aronofsky insists he ultimately won out on that skirmish.
"They tried what they wanted to try, and eventually they came back," he said, referring to the studio holding test screenings of various versions of the picture. "My version of the film hasn't been tested. ... It's what we wrote and what was greenlighted."
The studio has also contracted Grace Hill Media, a group that previously partnered on such films as "Man of Steel," "The Lord of the Rings," and "Narnia," to reach out to tastemakers in the Christian community to help foster grass-roots enthusiasm for the film.