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Q&A: ‘Noah’ director Darren Aronofsky on justice vs. mercy


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Do you have any hopes for what people take away from the film?

My job is first and foremost as an entertainer. I entertain people, and I try to make films that are exciting, and fun, and emotional, and moving, and filled with action, and that’s all I care about.

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With the good-and-evil tension, it seems like you’re content with just leaving that tension. Whereas other people might look for some conclusion.

Yeah, but that’s not real. I think that’s the greatness of these stories, is that in that first story in Genesis, they talk about how temptation led to sin, and original sin, and how that defines who we are. To me, that struggle is a really great metaphor to understand our lives, how we live every day. All religion deals with that.

If I were to guess which scene would make some people uncomfortable (without revealing spoilers), it seems like there’s a part where Noah appears to be in almost direct disobedience to God.

All of it’s a test. We were trying to dramatize the decision God must have made when he decided to destroy all of humanity. At the beginning of the Noah story, everything is wicked and God wants to start over. The pain of that, the struggle of that, must have been immense. To basically go from creating this beautiful thing to watching it fall apart, and then doing this horrible thing where you have to try and start again.

So we tried to take that huge cosmic idea and put it into a human’s hands. That’s what Noah’s story is. If you think about that moment, when God looks at the wickedness, it grieved him to his heart. We wanted to get that grief, that struggle, and stick it into Noah, so we can understand as people what it must have felt like. What would hurt more than to do — in vague terms — what Noah is about to do? Which for us was an exact metaphor for what the decision was, what the Creator went through. But he chose love! He chose mercy, which for us is the exact same story as the story in the Bible, just put into human terms.




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