New Movie ‘Noah’ Refuses Animal Cruelty

And now for something that will be music to animal rights supporters.

Darren Aronofsky, director of such award-winning films as “Black Swan” and “The Fountain,” has revealed in a new interview that his upcoming animal-heavy epic “Noah” will not feature any real animals.

“I think we’ve learned from people who have done it before that that’s a really bad move,” he tells the Directors Guild of America. “Politically it’s not a great thing to work with live animals and that’s becoming more apparent to people as time goes by, but also, technically, it would have been extremely difficult. And we’ve learned from lots of other films how hard it is to bring different kinds of animals together.”

That yet another Hollywood director is sensitive to using live animals should come as welcome news to PETA, who for years has campaigned against the idea in favor of computer-generated doppelgangers. Earlier this year, the organization produced a haunting ad that urged the entertainment industry to stop using apes for television, commercial, and movie roles.

“The bottom line is that we no longer can excuse the exploitation that exists in this world,” said actor Adrien Brody, who narrated the award-winning PSA. “Great apes are no exception. They are extremely sensitive, intelligent, and emotional beings. It’s sad that they’re still commonly used in television and film, especially when we know how much they suffer behind the scenes. Acting should be left to actors—and that means human beings who have a choice in the matter.”

Just like 2011 film “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” which also used no real animals, Aronofsky’s “Noah” placed some tremendous demands upon the SFX wizards over at Industrial Light & Magic.

“We had to create an entire animal kingdom,” says Aronofsky. “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. I wanted to respect the storyline and think what would have been involved if it all really happened.”

As a result, ILM’s computer-generated rendering of the animals on the Noah’s ark was the most complicated in the company’s history.

“It was a nice badge of honor,” he said. “I don’t think it’s the most incredible shot, but I think because of all the hair on the animals it was incredibly complicated for them. They said, ‘We can only render it two or three more times so make sure those are exactly right because they take so long and are so complex.’”

According to Variety, “Noah” will tell the story of a man who loves Earth and all of its animal inhabitants but has “become disillusioned with the way humans have treated their planet.” The $130M film is slated for a March 2014 release. You can read the rest of Aronofsky’s great interview with the DGA here.

More From MNN

Russell Crowe’s wild Iceland shoot for ‘Noah’
Biblical proportions: Man builds full-size Noah’s Ark
Russell Crowe’s ‘Noah’ hit by Sandy

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130 comments

Mark Mcsorley
Mark Mcsorley4 months ago

We boycott any movie that has live animals. Tiger from pi was beaten by trainer ,but the trainer was caught on tape for it. CGI need to be used every time an animal roll is call in a film. Hollywood need to make a law with that. If a film company want to make film with put CGI for animals,then ban it. Thank you for using CGI.

Christine Jones
Christine J.about a year ago

This is so encouraging.
Yes it might be expensive now, but the nature of technology is that it always gets cheaper over time, through economies of scale.
People assume that if you love animals you'll be keen to watch any film with animals in it, but that's no longer the truth in my case. Now that I know what goes on behind the scenes, I'm very careful about what I watch.

Carrie-Anne Brown

thanks for sharing :)

Anji T.
Angela T.2 years ago

Well that's a good thing. Hopefully it will look so realistic that it will inspire other film-makers to go for computer-generated animals as well. Although I suppose it is also horrifically expensive, so real ones will be used for some time yet...

Michael A.
Michael A.2 years ago

Very cool

Fred Hoekstra
Fred Hoekstra2 years ago

Thank you Megan, for Sharing this!

Donna Ferguson
Donna F.2 years ago

great news!

Michaela Carlsson

Wow, hope more will follow, animal cruelty has no place in our World, I hope...

Klaus Peters
Klaus Peters2 years ago

It is a start, we have to do more for wildlife on this planet before it is too late.

heather g.
heather g.2 years ago

This article reminds me of the time I was around 7-9 years old - and that was long ago....

Sometimes my Dad would take me to the movies in town - but had to give up on all the American Crime or Westerns-type movies, because there would be a deluge of tears after I had witnessed the terrible abuse of horses in these films or all the shooting of guns, killings, etc.

Any progress on that front after all these years is very welcome. But animal abuse continues unabated, whether it's factory farms, zoos, rodeos, etc. It's no wonder not many seem to notice the results of their Govt's arms misuse, drone and chemical use......