The cool thing about James Cameron’s “Titanic” (1997) was that because of the discovery of the actual RMS Titanic in 1985 by Dr. Robert Ballard there was tons of new data and a physical structure to study. This helped the filmmakers re-envision the physics of the sinking ship as well as intertwine some actual photography of the ship woven into the film narrative itself. Stinkin’ cool is what we call that!
Darren The Black Swan Aronofsky’s ark will have no such thing. Despite the April 2010 “discovery” of Noah’s Ark and the later debunking of that find, the Ark is still persona non presente. They’ve even got it narrowed down to a specific region on a specific Mountain in Turkey. And still…bupkiss. And so, while Aronofsky will provide us an epic film, it won’t have the same Documentary style underpinnings of TITANIC nor should we expect the biblical authenticity of Mel Gibson’s “Passion of the Christ”. No, this film will lean towards a sci-fi/fantasy narrative based (loosely?) on the Biblical mythos.
Here is what Aronofsky told IFC about Noah last summer:
“I don’t think [the tale of Noah is] a very religious story. I think it’s a great fable that’s part of so many different religions and spiritual practices. I just think it’s a great story that’s never been on film… I want to make a big [Roland Emmerich-style] event film, and I think ['Noah'] can be that.”
So, there’s that. But it still has all the makings of a great film. For starters, it’s got a reportedly $130M budget. That’s nothing to sneeze at. And then you look at the A-list cast helming this film, starting with the Master and Commander himself, Russel Crowe.
Release Date: March 28, 2014
Studio: Paramount Pictures
Director: Darren Aronofsky
Screenwriter: Darren Aronofsky, Ari Handel, John Logan
Starring: Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Saoirse Ronan, Douglas Booth, Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, Ray Winstone, Anthony Hopkins
Budget: $130 Million
Plot Summary: ”Noah” is a close adaptation of the Biblical story of Noah’s Ark. In a world ravaged by human sin, Noah is given a divine mission: to build an Ark to save creation from the coming flood.
If you haven’t seen the concept/pitch video from the French Comic that Aronofsky put out, take a look…
So we’ve got our Noah, Russell Crowe…
And rejoining Crowe after their awesome performances in “A Beautiful Mind” together, we’ve got Noah’s Wife, Jennifer Connelly…
This dude, Ray Winstone, will be playing a villain in some capacity…
And Hannibal Lecter, Sir Anthony Hopkins, has recently joined the cast as Methuselah (who is one of the oldest humans in the Bible over 900 years old)…
Mmm. When 900 years old you become, look as good you will not. Wrong, Yoda! The World’s Fastest Indian is looking dead sexy!
As they move into production, expect more stills to surface, but for now, Paramount and Aronofsky have released a couple of behind-the-scenes photos of set construction on the massive Ark.
And this one..
The 43-year-old Aronofsky has been quoted as saying this is a dream project of his since he was 13 years old. My friend Jeremy and I can relate. We’ve also dreamt of bringing this large scale project to life on the big screen. Are we worried that Aronofsky and his cool comics and his academy awardwinning cast and his $130M budget are going to steal our thunder?
Nah. We kewl. We kewl.
We’re just biding our time. Because honestly, to make a Noah film that’s not a religious picture is akin to making a Race car movie without cars. A romantic comedy without a love interest. An end times movie without Kirk Cameron. It just cannot be done. Nay, should not be done.
Meanwhile, if the Christian Lara Croft could get out to Mount Ararat and FIND US AN ARK…that would be very helpful to our cause.
Let’s make a movie!
I’m a big fan of film history. There. I admit it. Now if you put your ear close to your computer monitor and listen carefully, you can hear the sound of dozens of readers clicking and gesturing away so fast they’re leaving skidmarks on their trackpads. Why? Because history is “BOR-ring!”
But you know what else history is? NOT boring!
When you realize that how far you can make it as a filmmaker depends in part on the sum total of film tricks you have up your sleeve, you begin to look around for ways to add to what I call the “Filmmaker Tool kit.” After studying the evolution of film from about 1890 forward, I had what Mr. Smee from HOOK called: “An Apostrophe!”
Simple really, but the premise is that every filmmaker takes a similar course of discovery as we learn the filmmaking craft. Phases that have taken our film forebears 120 years to progress through we now tick through at an advanced pace. Some filmmakers will spend years in a particular phase, others will spend minutes before moving on. Confused? Me too! So let’s move on and you’ll just have to trust me that I’m about to drop some of what the kids call “Naw-luj” on you.
PHASE 1: 1895 CINEMA IS BORN
Antoine Lumière (the father of Auguste and Louis) considered the potential of motion pictures when he watched a demonstration of Edison’s Kinetoscope in Paris. Very impressed, he returned home and described what he saw to his sons, but he also added, “You can do better. Try to get that image out of the box.”
Following their father’s advice, Auguste and Louis began work on creating their own camera. Within a matter of months, the Lumières had patented their own device, then nameless, for “obtaining and viewing chronophotographic prints.” On March 19, 1895, the Lumières used their invention to film workers passing through the front gate of the Lumière and Sons factory. This is the date that has gone done in history as the moment when “cinema” was born.
Lumière camera operators ventured to Mexico, Russia, Japan and most points in between. In fact, the only continent that they did not step foot upon was Antarctica.
The slackers. Thus the world would have to wait another 110 years for “March of the Penguins”.
Anywho, are you ready to watch this first cinematic masterpiece? No, you don’t actually have time for popcorn. Maybe a Twizzler. One of the short ones. Already unwrapped. No, seriously, you might want to bite it and be chewing and THEN start the film.
“La Sortie de l’Usine Lumière à Lyon” (1895) Workers Leaving the Lumiere Factory.
Wow. And how did they follow up this Epic Cinematic tale? Well, with this classic classic rom-com of hijinx and hilarity…cue second Twizzler, cue: “Train Arrives at Station”.
Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat (The Lumière Brothers, 1895)
So, sure, we can laugh a snooty pretentious film laugh and point fingers and blame the inaccessibility of foreign film, but we have all been here at PHASE 1. This is the phase where we are using our Camera to capture everyday life. These are films with little to no plot. My grandmother started her film career in 1980-something with the purchase of this gigantic VHS Camcorder. How big was it? The camera was SOOOO big that on one occasion G-ma was in such a hurry I had to point out that she’d actually shouldered the family’s Chevy Impala, after she’d driven the VHS Cam to the store for groceries. We had a weird family.
Alas, G-ma never progressed from Phase 1. She got locked into some sorta infinite quantum film loop and every time we went to see her (EVERY time I tell ya!) she would have a new video for us to watch about the squirrels in her backyard. No plot. No action. Just squirrels. 20, maybe 30 minutes of squirrels eating from bird feeders, rooting through the grass, staring off in the distance lamenting their squirrel lot in life, etc. Phase 1.
Kinda like what happened to James Cameron after TITANIC where he went on this underwater/Titanic binge for about 10 years and almost got trapped in his own quantum film loop. Fortunately he resurfaced for AVATAR and seems to be progressing again. Grandma was not so lucky. We had to stage an intervention. ”Intervention” of course being a fancy term meaning “dropping a camera repeatedly until it no longer records properly.”
But this is the birth of cinema in your Film Evolution. This is your first baby step. It’s handheld, it’s badly composed, poorly lit, the audio is from an on-board microphone, and God help us if you’ve discovered the zoom function at the same time. Get the Dramamine! On the other hand, it has an immediacy, it’s happening now, and you either captured a moment or, equally as likely, you double-punched record completely missing it all together and then proceeded to record 5 or 10 minutes of camera walking footage. The modern equivalent of today’s pocket dial. Where you kinda wanna hear the whole long message to see if you got any golden nuggets, but usually is just a complete waste of 5 minutes.
The first time you picked up a camera, think about it, what did you do with it? Whether it’s 35mm, 8mm, MiniDV, VHS, VHS-C, BetaSP, Hi-8mm, Canon T2i, iPhone, whatever…at some point you stepped into Phase 1 by hitting record on a moment in time. And I would be willing to bet you, dollars to donuts, it was not art. And if, in fact, it was — and continues to be — Squirrels, I give your kids or grandkids the full right to “intervene” ASAP!
TOMORROW: PHASE 2 – FILM AS THEATER!
(March 19, 2009) This is a TIME Magazine article written by Josh Quittner about some cutting edge 3-D film technology that James Cameron (Titanic, Teminator) has been perfecting for years.
(EXCERPT) The lights dim in the screening room. Suddenly, the doomed Titanic fills the screen–but not the way I remember in the movie. The luxury liner is nearly vertical, starting its slide into the black Atlantic, and Leonardo DiCaprio is hanging on for life, just like always. But this time, I am too. The camera pans to the icy water far below, pulling me into the scene–the sensation reminds me of jerking awake from a dream–and I grip the sides of my seat to keep from falling into the drink.
Most of us have seen the top-grossing film of all time. But not like this. The new version, still in production, was remade in digital 3-D, a technology that’s finally bringing a true third dimension to movies. Without giving you a headache.
Had digital 3-D been available a dozen or so years ago when he shot Titanic, he’d have used it, director James Cameron tells me later. “But I didn’t have it at the time,” he says ruefully. “Certainly every film I’m planning to do will be in 3-D.”
Digital 3-D, which has slowly been gaining steam over the past few years, is finally ready for its closeup. Just about every top director and major studio is doing it–a dozen movies are slated to arrive this year, with dozens more in the works for 2010 and beyond. These are not just animations but live-action films, comedies, dramas and documentaries. Cameron is currently shooting a live-action drama, Avatar, for Fox in 3-D. Disney and its Pixar studio are releasing five 3-D movies this year alone, including a 3-D-ified version of Toy Story. George Lucas hopes to rerelease his Star Wars movies in 3-D. And Steven Spielberg is currently shooting Tintin in it, with Peter Jackson doing the 3-D sequel next year. Live sports and rock concerts in 3-D have been showing up at digital theaters around the U.S. nearly every week.
The full article can be read here at TIME MAGAZINE