Regarded as one of the finest actors of our time, Oscar-winner Russell Crowe (“Gladiator,” “Man of Steel”) is often sought after to bring an earthy humanity to towering characters. When the filmmakers began talking about who could carry the story of Paramount Pictures' new searing epic “Noah,” his name quickly came to the forefront.
But playing Noah would be an extreme undertaking even by his standards – in part because Noah has never before been seen on screen as a real man trying to stand up under the most enormous burden in human history: to assure the survival of all living things.
Says director Darren Aronofsky, “Russell intrigued us because he is always authentic, and so very, very believable. No matter what, you never question if Russell believes in what he's saying. And of course the possibility of working with someone with that much talent, that much power, was very exciting for me -- just to see what we could create together.”
Screenwriter Ari Handel was gratified to have an actor who could step right into the outsized contours of the role. “We really needed someone in the great tradition of biblical epics who has that gravitas,” he says. “Russell is someone you believe could follow through on the most Herculean, impossible task without complaint. You never doubt his capability or his strength, but in his eyes, you see an underlying compassion.”
To help recruit him, Aronofsky made Crowe a promise: he would never be shot in the hoary cliché with a pair of giraffes behind his head. But once he began his research, Crowe found that trying to get inside Noah from a modern perspective was endlessly fascinating. “You start with all these preconceived notions about Noah, but when you start to break down what the world might have been like in his time, it’s very intriguing,” he says.
The biggest challenge for Crowe was coming to terms with how a man would grapple emotionally and morally with such an urgent but still hazy vision of disaster from the Creator. “Noah only starts to understand the task he faces as a sort of deduction because he’s not getting a lot of direct input,” Crowe explains. “What he understands is that he needs to look after all the animals, but he doesn't have any information at all about how he is to address the human question, so a lot is left for him to figure out. One of the cool things about him is that I don’t think he finds there’s any honor in this job. In fact, he sees it as the worst job he could possibly get from the Creator. But he will do everything in his power to finish it.”
Working with Aronofsky was a major lure for Crowe throughout. “I felt that we never finished a day without something really cool being captured,” says the actor. “He’s intense because he wants to get a lot done, but that's great because you know he's always looking for something. And here's the other thing: he never stops directing. Even in the longest, coldest, toughest night, he never stops talking about that thing that you're pushing towards, which I suppose explains exactly why he makes the type of movies that he does. He's always taking people into places and experiences that are not average or typical. And hopefully that’s what this movie does as well.”
Inspired by the epic story of courage, sacrifice and hope, Darren Aronofsky (“Black Swan”) brings to the screen his personal vision of “Noah.” Russell Crowe portrays the man chosen to undertake a momentous mission of rescue before an apocalyptic flood destroys the world. The film offers a mesmerizing visual adventure through everlasting themes of good and evil, destruction and mercy, hope, family and second chances.
The film sets out to imagine the largely unknown life of Noah and his family, inviting audiences into both the spectacle and the heart of their experience as the earth disappears under a colossal deluge that will undo everything … yet lead to a new day for all Creation.
Opening across the Philippines on June 11, “Noah” will be distributed in the Philippines by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.