Darren Aronofsky Says Noah's Animals Are 'Slightly Tweaked' And Not Exactly Recognizable
How is it that we have gotten dozens of sneak peeks into the production of Bryan Singer’s X-Men: Days of Future Past, which comes out next May, but we have seen and know next to nothing about director Darren Aronofsky’s upcoming Biblical epic Noah, which opens two months earlier? I would have thought the film’s promotional campaign would have been in full swing by now. But while the filmmaker isn’t giving audiences any visual teaser for the film, he did let the Directors' Guild of America in on what we can expect to see visually in the film. If your guess is “a whole lot of CGI,” then you’re absolutely right! Of course, if there’s anyone that can be expected to make good use of extensive digital trickery, it’s this guy.
“There are fantastical creatures, fantastical events,” Aronofsky said in an interview. “There’s a huge deluge. What you’re photographing is often not the thing that will appear on screen—that’s the underpinning. There will be a huge amount of visual architecture placed on top of that, and that sort of makes it a different job. Sometimes only the actor’s face will be in the final image.” So long as they don’t try to digitally render the actors’ eyes, it’s okay with me.
Aronofsky points out that actor faces will be the only real faces in the film, as the huge cast of animals that play into Noah’s tale are all fabricated beings. “We had to create an entire animal kingdom,” he explained of his monumental collaboration with Industrial Light & Magic (ILM). “All the animals in the movie are slightly tweaked; I didn’t want the clichéd polar bear, elephant, and lion walking onto the Ark; I didn’t want the shot of a giraffe’s head looking over the rail… We basically went through the animal kingdom and pinpointed the body types we wanted: some pachyderms, some rodents, reptiles, and the bird kingdom. We chose the species and they were brought to life with different furs and colors. We didn’t want anything fully recognizable but not completely absurd either.” Perhaps we’ll see a Heffalump or two tucked off in a corner somewhere.
The work was so intensive behind-the-scenes, in fact, that ILM told Aronofsky their work on the animals led to the most complicated rendering in the company’s history. “I don’t think it’s the most incredible shot,” Aronofsky said, “but I think because of all the hair on the animals it was incredibly complicated for them.”
The entire interview covers the scope of the director’s entire career as well as the scope of his latest project. It also includes some confusion over how many different kinds of cubits one can measure by, and explains why they chose to avoid the problems of filming with real animals.
Surely this must mean we’ll soon get to see something from the film beyond just Russell Crowe in costume, right? Even seeing one of these tweaked animals would be interesting. Everything will be seen in its entirety when Noah washes into theaters on March 28, 2014.
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