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‘Noah’ film to come with disclaimer

In a move clearly aimed to appease potential religious critics, Paramount Pictures is adding a disclaimer to marketing materials for Noah, writer-director Darren Aronofsky’s drama about the great flood.

The studio announced late on Thursday that the “explanatory message,” as Paramount calls it, 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.”

Opening on March 28, Noah has proved to be a difficult movie to make and market. Costing an estimated $125 million (Dh459 million), the film sparked a clash between Aronofsky, the creatively daring director of Black Swan and Requiem for a Dream, and Paramount, which was nervous that his interpretation of the biblical tale would polarise moviegoers, especially conservative Christians.

The disclaimer was prompted by conversations between the studio and the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB), a conservative Christian organisation whose mission includes advancing “biblical truth.” Some NRB leaders have seen the film, which stars Russell Crowe as Noah.

“Because of the quality of the production and acting, viewers will enjoy watching main themes from the Noah story depicted in a powerful way on the big screen,” said Jerry A Johnson, the NRB’s president, in a statement. “However, my intent in reaching out to Paramount with this request was to make sure everyone who sees this impactful film knows this is an imaginative interpretation of scripture, and not literal.”

Theologians would argue there is no ‘literal’ interpretation of almost everything in the Bible, and many prominent religious leaders have clashed on other movies about faith, including fierce debates over Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ.

Nevertheless, Paramount said the disclaimer would run on “future marketing materials… the film’s official website, and 100 per cent of print and radio, as well as a percentage of the film’s online and broadcast” advertisements.