Genre: Religious Epic/Action
Premise: (from IMDB) A man is chosen by God to undertake a momentous mission of rescue before an apocalyptic flood destroys the world.
About: Noah was written and directed by Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan, The Wrestler) and co-written by Ari Handal. As most religious pictures do, this film is dividing audiences, most of whom haven’t even seen it (I love when the religious community does this – “Don’t go see this!” “Have you seen it?” “Uhh, no. But that’s irrelevant!”). Ari Handel is a longtime Aronofsky collaborator. He received a “story by” credit for Aronofsky’s most ambitious film, The Fountain, but Noah is his first full screenplay credit. Predictions for Noah’s box office this past weekend were all over the map, with many predicting it would tank big time. But the film did a respectable 45 million dollars.
Writers: Darren Aronofsky and Ari Handel (based on the book “The Bible” written by Moses, David, Ethan and others).
Details: 262 pages!!!!!!!!! (without pictures, about 130 pages) — early draft


Awhile back I said, “Don’t write ‘religious’ scripts. They don’t sell.” Then ‘religious projects’ become all the rage. Should we chalk that up to the, “Nobody knows anything,” William Goldman quote that writers use in defense of all their strange ideas? “I’m going to continue to push my coming-of-age story about a man frustrated with his 20s because… nobody knows anything!” No offense but, don’t do that.  Please.

Here’s how Hollywood works. One day, nobody’s buying religious scripts. Then a huge director who’s had a nice little streak going – somebody like Darren Aronofsky – says he wants to make a big Noah epic. Everybody’s a little nervous but no one wants to say no to a talent like Aronofsky so they say, “Okay, I guess we can jump on board with that.”

The news circulates around town that Aronofsky’s next movie is a big religious epic, and all of a sudden, guess what? It’s okay to buy big religious epics! Whether the other studios want competing projects, or to be prepared if Noah succeeds so they can jump on the heat, they buy these scripts and start developing them.

My point is – there IS some logic to it. It’s not like one day everyone starts buying religious specs because “Nobody knows anything.” There’s almost always a cause and effect going on.

Which leads us back to “Noah” and its heaping 262 page retelling of the epic story (well, not really 262 pages. There are a lot of weird pictures in it and if you take those out, it’s only about 130 pages). I should preface this by saying I’ve never read the Bible and, in fact, had my Sunday School teacher come to my parents and tell them, “I don’t think this boy should be in Sunday School anymore.” In other words, I’ve been officially rejected by God.  This very well may factor into my review.

So in Aronofsky’s version of “Noah,” we have a guy named Noah. Noah is a tree-hugger. He hates how careless we’ve become with our land. Not only are we knocking everything down and dispersing our trash everywhere, but we’re killing all our animals too! Noah, it turns out, is also a big-time vegetarian. He refuses to munch the meat.

Noah preaches this gospel to his family, two boys (Shem and Ham), a baby girl, and an adopted girl, Ila, who was left for dead after her village was slaughtered. Everyone looks up to Noah so they follow in line, even when he claims to have been contacted by God, who happened to mention that he’s going to destroy the world.

Noah believes he’s been chosen to save all the animals on the planet, so he convinces his family to build an animal Ark for when the floods come. Since this takes up the majority of his time, Noah’s unaware that Ila takes a liking to his son, Shem. Possibly because Noah’s such an animal freak, Shem and Ila learn about the birds and the bees, and the next thing you know: preggers!

While Noah’s building the Ark, an evil warlord named Akkad keeps bothering him for a spot on his boat, going so far as to sick his army on the resistant Noah. Thing is, Noah’s buddies are these huge 6-armed monster things who ward Akkad’s army off.

But eventually the rains come and Akkad is able to get on the ship as it shoots off to sea. It’s here where Noah has another vision – this one that he needs to kill his family off (in a very humane, systematic way of course) so that there will be no more humans on the planet, just animals. It’s a grand plan, but ruined when he finds out that Ila is pregnant with his grandchild. Will Noah finally come around? Or will he stop humanity by killing off his only grandkid? Oh yeah, and what about that Akkad guy? What nasty things does he have in store? Check out “Noah” to find out.


I’ll be the first to admit that Aronofsky is one of those filmmakers who brings so much to the table stylistically, that you can’t judge his scripts the same way you can judge scripts like “Non-stop.” You really have to see an Aronofsky film to make a final judgment. However, I do have some thoughts on the script itself.

First off though, I have some questions for the religious folks. Do people really believe that the earth used to have giants and 6-armed monsters and talking snakes? Why did these things die off and why isn’t there any evidence of them? I guess they may have died off in this flood?  Is that the story?  Still, if animals used to be able to talk, why can’t they talk anymore? Do religious folks have an answer to this? I have to be honest, it all sounds a little silly to me.

But even if you can get past that, “Noah” is still a strange read. Noah himself is kind of a nut bag. He has a nice little Save the Cats moment early on (yup, I did the plural thing – cause it’s Noah) where he saves this Bison from sure death. And his general attitude towards animals makes us feel all warm and fuzzy towards the bearded one.

But dude, what’s up with wanting to kill your family off? Don’t you think that’s a little extreme? There’s this moment that comes in every script where your main character has “the choice.” It’s the most difficult choice he’ll ever be presented with in life – his “Sophie’s Choice,” if you will – and it should include the thing he cares most about and the thing that is ultimately right.

So here, when Ila’s babies are born (spoiler alert – she has twins!), Noah can either kill them (so there will be no more chance of reproduction) or let them live. He believes so much in a human-free world, that he really really really wants to kill his grandchildren. But in the end, he just can’t.

Here’s my problem with this choice – we know there’s no way in Hell that Noah’s going to kill two babies. He just isn’t. So the choice is devoid of any drama. And I think this problem stems from giving Noah a ridiculous stance to begin with – the guy wants to kill off his own family??? Come on. No audience is ever going to believe that Noah’s capable of doing such a thing. Therefore, any further story elements that try to build off of this are bound to fail.

The structure for this script was also really wonky. The first 70 pages (35 pages w/o pictures) are dedicated to getting to know Noah and his family. We then jump forward 10 years, and the Ark is 80% finished. Then at around page 150 (roughly page 80 w/o pictures), we’re off in our Ark.

Since, up to that point, most of the script was about building the Ark, the story has to reset. Where does it go from here? What’s the engine that’s driving it? Unfortunately, nothing really. They only kind of try to look for land. Therefore it becomes all about Ila’s pregnancy. And, as I stated above, that storyline doesn’t hold any water.

To be honest, this story was going to be a clusterfrick to wrangle in no matter what they did. The building of the Ark was always going to take a long time, forcing the screenwriters to condense time whenever possible. And whenever you condense time, you impose an artificiality onto the story. You can get away with it a couple of times. And you can use tricks to distract us from time jumps (Forrest Gump does a good job of this). But at a certain point, if you have too many jumps, the script starts to feel like a broken record, scratching and sputtering and starting back up again.

That was my problem here. There was no rhythm to the story. They probably should have gone to one extreme or the other. Either make the entire script about building the Ark, with the climax being the beginnings of the rain, or get them on that Ark by the end of the first act, and then build a story around them on the sea (probably trying to find land again). Aronofsky tried to do both, and I think that was its undoing.

I will give this to Aronofsky: He did something different. I would much rather see this movie than the super-safe G-rated Bible Belt Productions version of Noah, where everyone would have been squeaky clean and perfect. These characters here had a lot of baggage to hold onto, and that at least made them readable. Still, the weird structure, the half-fantasy element, combined with a psychopathic Noah turned me off.

[ ] what the hell did I just read?
[x] wasn’t for me
[ ] worth the read
[ ] impressive
[ ] genius

What I learned: Try to avoid writing scripts where your story completely reboots. “Noah” was so focused on one thing in the beginning (building this Ark), that the story lost its footing once it moved past that. No pun attended, but after that boat left the dock, this script was lost at sea.

What I learned 2: If you’re going to include pictures in your script, make sure their presentation looks professional.  This is the second script I’ve read this month that had pictures in it, and in both cases, the pictures are haphazardly thrown up onto the page.  It looks sloppy, which makes the script look sloppy. Use some uniformity, some placement plan, some technique.  It goes a long way.

  • Jim Dandy

    Again with the teal and orange colour palette. It’s bad enough that *every* sci-fi movie uses it, but now we have biblical blockbusters using it. Is there a single scene in Noah without teal and fracking orange? Even Godzilla uses it, although a little bit of green creeps into a few shots (the post-prod people must have been asleep for those scenes).

    Sorry, this is not screenwriting-related. In future I will control my ranting…

  • FilmingEJ

    “No pun attended, but after that boat left the dock, this script was lost at sea.”

    There is no way that wasn’t actually intended.

    • garrett_h

      Please attend to your Puns, folks. Leave no Pun behind!

      • Midnight Luck

        leave no Pun unattended, intendedly.

    • Citizen M

      Fortunately he built an Ark, not a Punt.

  • Randy Williams

    Take it from me, an animal lover -God only used Noah as a vessel to save the animals. He intended him and his family to die of novoviruses on board. The twist was everyone stayed in their cabin and no one ate at the buffet.

    • Mike.H

      Send resume to Lorne Michaels of SNL… may have a career or job offer.

      • Randy Williams

        I’d rather have Scriptshadow choose my script for AOW.

        Speaking of disasters at sea, anyone notice the newly hosted script on
        The Black List?

        “Malaysia 370: Apocalypse Nightshade”


        • Jonathan Soens

          Did somebody seriously vomit up a quick script about this, or did they happen to have a newly-topical airplane script ready to roll and so slapped a new title on it to cash in?

          • ScottStrybos

            What’s more likely is a screenwriter already had a screenplay about a plane that goes missing and then quickly adapted it to fit Flight 370 so he could profit professionally from the tragedy.

          • Randy Williams

            Their previous long log line inferred that this was a story based on the facts known about the case. That log line has now been changed to simply,”The answers are not in the black box” which implies some conjecture to me.

        • Eddie Panta

          Have you seen the 70’s Rapture films by MARK IV – A THIEF IN THE NIGHT?

  • Shaun Snyder

    I am a Christian, and I highly recommend this movie. There were some major liberties taken, but I expected that; there’s not much in the Bible about Noah. The script was okay-to-decent, but it was very well-directed and the performances were awesome. If anyone is interested, here is an excellent review of the film — a review that I agree with 100-percent:
    P.S. — Carson, God hasn’t rejected you; just that stupid church that you went to as a kid.

    • klmn

      No, I think God has really rejected Carson.

      • ScottStrybos

        Carson probably unfavorably reviewed one of God’s scripts on an amateur Friday.

      • silvain

        God took one look at Carson and said, “What the hell did I just create??”


  • Tailmonsterfriend

    I’ve been wondering about the pictures-in-scripts thing. One part of my day job is web design and layout, and I have access to some phenomenal industry artists, but I’m afraid that if I do add swanky art to my script (professionally laid out, of course) it’ll make the reader stop using their own imagination and just use the pretty pictures instead.

    I’d love to check out Noah’s script purely for that purpose. If anyone has it, you can reach me via my username at gmail.

    As for Noah the movie… if someone had asked me to turn that story into a movie, I would have a) asked for A LOT of money, because that’s so not my jam, and b) would have put it into a scifi setting. Because that’s my go-to, but also because the original source is just too damn silly.

    • Dimitri

      That’s why I’d dump the pictures at the end of your screenplay. Readers will have an extra experience after they read the story. They’ll relive it.

      • ScottStrybos

        I think I’m going to side with never add pictures to your script. It seems amateurish, but that is also an amateur opinion. If you need pictures to describe what you are writing, then you aren’t doing your job as a writer.

        • Jonathan Soens

          To be fair, I think the problem doesn’t lie with writers who need pictures so much as it lies with readers who need pictures.

          I also think the “Noah” example isn’t really a feasible example of what we’re talking about. For a futuristic, sci-fi, or fantasy story, I’m talking about a purely mathematical upside to saving yourself pages of description by being able to throw up a simple picture or two to give the reader a starting point for how the world/technology looks.

          What “Noah” did is apparently just slip in a crude graphic novel throughout the book, doubling the page count. I’m guessing they showed you all the same things they described, therefore undermining the math behind my intentions.

          If you had that many images (and I’m assuming you crafted them yourself with original artwork, if you’re an artist), at that point, you might as well just slap them together and make a full-blown graphic novel, and amend the cover page of the script to indicate that your script is based on your graphic novel (because that sounds fancy-pants).

          • ScottStrybos

            We, writers, like to think that what we describe is it. That our story is the first and last authority on what exists, and exactly how it exists, in this world we are creating. But we are not.

            Screenplays, I don’t think they are meant to be completely focussed and detailed in its pros. We should be writing the bare minimum. Striving, not to be vague, but to only describe exactly what needs to be read to understand. Which is a difficult task.

            Including a picture that shows the exact dimensions of, for example, a space station, with every rivet, and corner, and window…it might be fun for us, but I don’t think that is our job.

            I think including photos or pictures is overstepping and intruding into the directors territory.

          • Jonathan Soens

            Well, I’ll just disagree that it’s overstepping or intruding.

            Too many images would be overstepping, I’d agree. Clear images of important characters’ faces might be intruding, since that seems like a cutesy way of trying to cast the movie for the reader.

            I’ll say this: I remember reading the hardcover release of Crichton’s “The Lost World” novel, and the inside of the front cover featured a rough map of the island. Now, that was a novel where he had endless amounts of words to describe things, but I still referred to the map a number of times while reading because I got turned around or confused about where things were. I believe the edge of the map may also have had small images of different dinosaur species, which was also useful to me as a reader.

            I dunno. Maybe it’s just me. I don’t think most scripts need it, so I don’t think it should even be an option for most scripts. But in certain, specific cases, I’m okay with it.

          • ScottStrybos

            I’m going to need you to admit that I am right and you are wrong…

          • Jonathan Soens

            You are right and I am wrong.

    • MaliboJackk

      Carson occasionally uses a picture suggesting something about the script he’s reviewing. We usually know that it doesn’t come from the author. And often has little to do with the actual.story.

      Not sure it would work the same way in our script. How do you find that exact picture that you want for your script. And if it’s not exact, will the reader assume it is — since you included it?

      Was shown some art work that a top screenwriter was having done for one of his pitches (he hates to pitch) and heard some music for another of his.
      My first reaction — Why does someone in his position need to do this?
      My second reaction — Was this the best he could come up with? Do you really want to show this to a studio?

  • MaliboJackk

    ” I’m all for creative license, but it really ticks me off when folks
    completely change the source material (bible or other) to suit their own

    You obviously haven’t been to church.

    • Casper Chris

      Dis’ gon’ get ugly.

  • Mike.H

    They saw the changes made to Snow White and the huntsmen… decided to do the same with creative license for funneling “cha ching” into the cash regiester box office. Money… we like it & we’ll take it any way or form.

  • Midnight Luck

    While you may not buy that Noah had to kill his family, and therefore the whole story lost it’s truth, reality, believability, etc, think about the fact that the bible is based in stories about fathers killing sons, about slaughtering animals and babies, sacrificing many animals and people, those loved ones and others we don’t know. there are enough stories in the Bible where someone has to kill their own family member because it is God’s will, or God told them to, that Noah having to kill off his family isn’t a big leap.
    Yes he was probably just batshit crazy and hearing voices, and the Great Flood, was probably just the toilet leaking across the rock floor of the shack they lived in since one of the insolent children forgot to jiggle the bamboo handle, but still. Stories of death, murder, killing of children, are all very Biblical.
    Funny that one of the Ten Commandments is “Thou Shall Not Kill” or something like that, yet the Bible is loaded with killing, as is History….All in the name of God and/or Religion.
    At least that is what I’ve heard.

    • andyjaxfl

      There’s more blood letting in the Old Testament than in any Verhoeven or Tarantino flick. The OT reminds me of the South Park movie’s bashing of the MPAA: Lots of violence is okay, but no sex or naughty words!

      • ChadStuart

        People take the Bible too literally. It’s metaphor. Think of Adam and Eve. A “snake” corrupted her and they were thrown out of the Garden of Eden and then they had kids. So, there was plenty o’ sex in the Bible. Most ancient storytelling was heavy on metaphor but now that we live in a literal age we want to interpret an ancient text literally. That’s just not how it’s done.

    • Guest

      God didnt make man kill other humans, that was man’s decision. Lambs as sacrificial animals were killed as an offering to God. I’m not trying to change how you feel about the bible, that would be futile, but you’re wrong about God “telling people to kill other people”.

    • Midnight Luck

      It is hilarious that two responses to this comment both talk about what The Bible says, and they say exact opposite things. One says, “God DOESN’T make man kill other humans” and the other says “There is more Bloodletting than in any Tarantino flick”.

      There’s story after story of people being told to kill their sons, in real life followers have burned virgins alive, there is so much of this kind of behavior in book and in life, it isn’t up for question. It is real. Still today, one religion (Muslim, Christian, Catholic, whatever whatever) take it upon themselves to kill the other people in other religions for being Heretics or, well, just not being or believing like them.

      Getting all philosophical.

      Taking the Bible as the word or listening to Religion for guidance is a bit like believing your dog is telling you to kill people and going ahead with it because it is truth. Religion was spawned as a way to manipulate and control people. A way to make them fight and squabble with each other so they didn’t pay attention to what was going on with their own lives, money or people in power. A way to gather most of the money people had, to gain infinite riches and power. The Bible is the most effective fiction which has been taken as truth. People say it is written not to be taken literally, but they do believe it is truth! Sorry, can’t have it both ways. If it is a metaphor, then it is just a yarn spun for storytelling reasons.

      I have to say, I agree with Grendl (for once), I would much rather have an in depth look at and discussion of the implosion that is SABOTAGE. The director of Training Day and End of Watch, and no one has any interest in going to this movie? instead they see some overblown, insipid Biblical story about a fictional flood and character? Life is so different than it was in 2001. Training Day just lit up the viewers. I am not exactly a huge fan of the new (old) Schwarzenegger, but as a movie itself, it might be interesting. The director did a great job with TD and EoW, so I would give it a try.

      Now all anyone wants to see are Animated Kid Movies, Young Adult adaptations, and stupid brain dead comedies (looking at you Sandler and Wayans) that literally kill brain cells. I saw BAD WORDS and it was one of the better movies I have seen in the last year. Who saw it? 12 people? sad. I would bet anyone out there it blows DIVERGENT or NOAH out of the water in how well the script and story are told. And how much fun it is to watch. A 40 year old dude breaking into the top spelling bee in the country and manipulating his way to the top to beat out all the 12 year olds. Just great.

    • ff

      So true.

      I’ve always had this idea that religious prophets were insane, schizos, or had brain tumors to see visions and believe the crap they wrote about. It’s all BS…

  • ximan

    I know I’m usually a smart ass, and maybe you were just being a smart ass, but I say this with all sincerity, C….

    God did not reject you. Men who purported to know God rejected you to keep you from ever knowing him. This is the same way organized religion treated God himself when he walked amongst us. They even went as far as to kill him.

    My point is, you have more in common, and are, therefore, closer to God than you think ;)

    • bluedenham

      The flying spaghetti monster rejected me. So I ate him.

  • ripleyy

    Yikes, and I thought the Satanic Bible version of this story was bad! I was never going to see this in the first place (I also don’t mind religious stories, even if I’m not religious myself. I like being open-minded) but this just seems…odd.

    In fact, if I was given the choice to write this, the most logical way I would tackle this script is having the Ark itself being near completion at the very beginning.

    This means, the Ark is near finished. Setting up Akkad so that he wants to take the Ark is another thing, but here’s the thing – TENSION, TENSION, TENSION!

    Imagine Noah and his family being on the Ark. Akkad and his men are on the boat. This means that there’s A) Going to be so much conflict and tension it could set the entire boat aflame and B) DUH, this would make it seem a lot more interesting.

    Akkad wants the Ark. Noah wants Akkad off the boat, but he’s religious and thus doesn’t KILL. Akkad doesn’t like Noah. Illa loves Akkad’s son (if he had one – thus he gets Illa pregnant).

    I mean, this seems so logical in my opinion. I can imagine Akkad wanting a mutiny. Sure, it has absolutely nothing to do with the original story, but crafting a tension-filled suspense film onboard the Ark, which is occupied by two forces at work, would require enough drive to power it through all the way.

    Unfortunately…whatever this is, is just odd. That being said, yay originality and horrah for Darren being brave enough to do this – that is enough to warrant a price of admission.

    • Citizen M

      You could pitch it as Genesis meets Pirates of the Caribbean.

  • andyjaxfl

    I enjoyed the performances, especially from Crowe, Connelly, and Winstone. The depiction of the Watchers was interesting, especially with their Ray Harryhausen-like movements. But as a whole, the movie left me unengaged. I was bored after 45 minutes and I couldn’t wait for the end, and I’m a guy who yearns for the days of the 3-plus house epics like Ben-Hur, The Ten Commandments, Lawrence of Arabia, etc…

    I still need time to process what I saw, and maybe another viewing when it arrives on DVD, but there’s no urgency on my part to do so.

  • brenkilco

    How can you possibly dislike a script where all the main characters have an ark?

    • Casper Chris


    • ScottStrybos

      I’ll be honest, it took me two or three passes of the scriptshadow comments for this joke to register. Very clever. lol

  • G.S.

    Based on what I’ve heard about this movie, it’s about as close to the source material as Starship Troopers. (No, Carson. No multi-armed rock monsters in the Bible. I’m a Sunday School teacher, so if anyone has any sincere questions about that stuff, e-mail me at gsphifer at hotmail dot com)

    I’m mostly disappointed because this could have been a movie to bridge the gap between the low-budget, cheesy Bible belt movies and the Hollywood action epics. And it actually wouldn’t have been that hard. One of the biggest themes throughout Old Testament biblical hero stories are that the prophets were dudes with problems. And one of the easiest ones to highlight is the constant self-doubt inherent to getting an assignment from God that doesn’t have an endgame you can see. In this, “Evan Almighty” did a better job being true to the spirit of the biblical narrative.

    The choice to make Noah into a homicidal environmentalist went exactly contrary to the premise of the story of the Ark being a saving grace against the coming calamity. It also could do nothing but turn the audience against the supposed hero of the movie. Why would you do that?

    An important thing to consider here is that this isn’t just about making a Bible movie, but adapting source material with a serious fandom (for lack of a better term). Whether it’s Twilight, Avengers, or Noah, the writer needs to understand what aspects of the story are immovable pillars and what parts can be adapted. Bella isn’t a vampire hunter, Captain America isn’t a bully and Noah isn’t a killer. And because those stories have shown that they work (I’m guessing with Twilight) as is, making a drastic change like that will likely come off as false even to non-fans. So now you’ve turned EVERYONE off.

    It made money, though. Go figure. I can only hope that, given the inevitable box office-driven desire to make more of these, they’ll do a better job next time. Meh.

    • Casper Chris

      re: the rock monsters

      “I could easily write an essay just on Aronofky’s Watchers and the film’s reworking of Genesis 6 and the Books of Enoch and Jubilees. The film’s Watchers are creatures of heaven and earth, beings of light bound in rock, with six misshapen, rocky limbs corresponding to the six wings of the seraphim.The Book of Enoch describes both good Watchers, or angels, and rebels, who offered human beings advanced technological and occult knowledge, perpetuating human decadence. These Watchers are seemingly of this ilk, and the knowledge they transmitted to Cain’s descendants leads to an antediluvian civilization spreading corruption across the face of the Earth.”

      The Book of Enoch is an ancient Jewish religious work, traditionally ascribed to Enoch, the great-grandfather of Noah. It is not part of the biblical canon as used by Jews.

    • Brock_Rox

      I’m a Christian as well and I share your sentiment of disappointment. There are a plethora of great stories in the Bible that would (and some have) make for awesome film experiences and, from what I’ve read, this seems like a wasted opportunity. I have not yet seen the film, but I’ll probably give it a rent on blu-ray.

      The whole point of God choosing Noah to build His ark was because there was NO ONE else on earth as righteous. Every thought of man was wicked. God didn’t choose Noah because he liked trees and furry animals, and this is the problem with having Noah go crazy and try and kill his family. It’s just not in his character. I completely understand the need from a dramatic standpoint to add some conflict and tension during the time when they are on the ark (and I imagine there would be), but this decision goes completely against who Noah is and it negates the ENTIRE purpose of the story.

      If you look at this objectively, Darren Aronofsky claims to be an atheist. So you have someone who considers the Bible to be in the same category of literature as The Hobbit, making a film based on what millions believe is a holy book. I don’t think he had evil intentions or anything, I just think he doesn’t “get it.” He’s even quoted as saying (with some gusto) that Noah is “the least biblical biblical film ever made.” Which, for non-believers seems equivalent to Peter Jackson saying “I made the least Tolkien-esque Tolkien film ever!” Huh?

      G.S, as you said in your comment, it comes down to respecting the source material just like any adaptation, and I think that’s a great point. People have been twisting the words in the Bible from its inception to suit their own purposes, so that’s nothing new.

      People flocked to The Passion because it felt like someone who actually believed the story was telling it. Mel Gibson (as a filmmaker) respected the material and it made a TON of money because of it. As a Christian who happens to be screenwriter, it’s odd to me that even from a purely monetary perspective, we don’t get more faithful Bible adaptations. There’s so much money to be made if you just respect the material. Think of it; you already have a built-in audience of hundreds of millions of people in EVERY demographic. That seems like a producer’s dream.

      All this being said, I appreciate that the people involved were willing to throw some money at this story because it is full of spectacle, adventure, and morality. It brings in an audience that would probably NEVER go out to see a “Bible movie” and hopefully encourages them to seek out more information about the story from the source.

      • silvain

        I’m also a Christian who happens to be a screenwriter as well, and just saw this last night. Noah was an absolutely despicable character. I have to confess, at about the point when the Niphilim, or whatever those Tolkienesque creatures were, joined Noah, I began cheering for Ray Winstone’s Tubal-Cain to steal the Ark from him like Indiana Jones making off with a Nazi truck.

    • Joseph McMahon

      I am a Christian with a Biblical Studies degree and the movie is a masterpiece.

      • silvain

        I’m a Christian as well, and I can accept taking liberties with the Bible, Lord knows it’s full of mythology (though I do believe it’s the *inspired* Word of God). But I wasn’t crazy about the film because of its story and character choices. Noah was not the least bit likable, and there’s barely any story, just one spectacle after another.

        And, I have to admit, by the midpoint I was solidly rooting for neglected son Ham and the villain of the piece, Tubal-Cain, to take over the ark and depose its builder.

  • ChadStuart

    I know the pictures are in THIS script because Aronofsky was trying to sell the studio on his vision. But, I was wondering what other people thought about some of the other news clippings and such research I’ve seen in scripts lately. Specifically, I can think of two. “Section 6″ and “The Golden Record”. To some extent, I think they’re used as a tool to convince skeptical readers who think the pseudo-true story has moved too far away from the truth that they haven’t. I’m not sure how I feel about the practice to tell you the truth. I have at least one script that’s fictional, but based on research, and wanted to have a good way of saying that. But I’m not sure this is it.

    • Casper Chris

      There was also that White House screenplay that used pictures from Modern Warfare and whatnot.

      btw. can someone send me the Noah script? I’d like to see how the pictures were incorporated.

  • jw

    ScriptShadow’s day to discuss the Bible… I’m out. You guys have fun…

  • Linkthis83

    I’m looking forward to the sequel:

    Noah 2: Noah Way!

    • Alex Palmer

      To be honest, they should actually DO a Noah sequel. Everyone knows how the ark hullabaloo goes down, but no one remembers what happens to him afterwards. He becomes an embittered alcoholic (choice quote: “He drank of the wine and became drunk and lay uncovered in his tent”). Get Mike Leigh to direct and we have a gritty kitchen-sink (hovel-basin?) drama.

    • ripleyy

      Can’t wait to see the Noah Baumbach version of this film.

      • Linkthis83

        Ha. I was thinking more along the lines of attaching Stephen Herek to it. Maybe see if Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves would join up again for another adventure of biblical proportions.

  • walker

    I think for Hollywood the key thing about Biblical stories is that they are in the public domain.

    • Linkthis83

      So what you are really saying is “What if Noah had a submarine?”

      • Jonathan Soens

        I know you’re joking, but I am infinitely more interested in a religious movie taking place in contemporary times.

        I’m not interested in these Bible stories set in the distant past. I’ve heard too much about them already, and I don’t feel entertained by the idea of considering/depicting God’s intentions in the distant past. Gimme a story happening in today’s world, and I might theoretically be entertained by it.

        The “Almighty” comedies with Carrey and Carell were silly takes on the idea, but I’m still hypothetically interested in seeing how it would look if God chose a person in present-day to literally speak to, and to give them missions or tasks.

        (I’m sure some people would quickly point out that there is a whole sub-genre of God-awful low-budget religious propaganda films floating around out there. And I’m obviously not talking about those things. I’m talking about movies that don’t consider “entertainment” to be a goal that isn’t worthy enough of their time. I’m not talking about movies whose ultimate goal is to get the message out or recruit more followers.)

        • Linkthis83

          I was joking, but in a literal way. Basically emphasizing what you are.

          After thinking about Walker’s comment I thought “Why don’t people do more with Bible stories since they are public domain?” But instead of diving into it, I just said “submarine.”

          • Franchise Blueprints

            Is it a yellow submarine?

        • kenglo

          One word – DOGMA !!! Awesome film!!

        • Franchise Blueprints

          Gimme a story happening in today’s world, and I might theoretically be entertained by it.

          I almost forgot about “The Book of Eli” (2010).

      • Hadley’s Hope

        Instead of a boat, Noah has to build a spaceship. Instead of a great flood, a great purging is coming from some new threat (nuclear war, zombies, etc). It’s Noah’s Ark meets Revelations with a little Battlestar Galactica thrown into the mix.

        • Citizen M

          “Build thou a great refrigerator, forty cubits by forty cubits. Lineth it with lead, loadeth with animals, and climbeth inside. Verily I shall send a nuclear blast that smiteth all of humanity. But thou, Noah, thou shalt remain cool.”

    • mulesandmud

      It’s so true. The possibility of finding a built-in audience (or even just the illusion of one) without licensing IP has driven studios into a public domain frenzy. For them, it’s the best of both worlds: a fast way to generate material and an easy way to trim development costs.

      Wasn’t there a David O. Selznick-style executive back in the day famous for picking a newspaper headline at random and handing it off the a writer?

  • kenglo

    LOL – Never debate religion or politics. Neither side can ever win.

    • ScottStrybos

      Disqus just glitched on me–I was logged in as you for at least five minutes.

      If I didn’t correct it, I’m sure it could have been longer. It happened after I successfully logged in as myself…

      Doesn’t say much for Disqus security.

    • Midnight Luck

      It is like bashing your head into a wall, though usually it is someone else trying to bash your head into the wall.

  • kenglo

    Nephilim were said to be a race of giants, Goliath was one of them. But yeah, Passion of the Christ was way more ‘truthful to the bible’ than what I have read of this Noah story.

  • carsonreeves1

    lol. did he read the company manual?

  • carsonreeves1

    I’m more saying, “Don’t try this at home.” Still, I think we can all agree, Aronofsky is a much better filmmaker than he is a writer.

    • Alex Palmer

      Agreed. Aronofsky’s strengths don’t seem to lie in writing.

      Requiem for a Dream was a Tour de Force in direction, but below the artifice? I’m not sure it quite worked. I thought the script was a predictable slog with the occasional flash of unintentional humour (Talking fridge! Darth Maul Dildo!).

      • Franchise Blueprints

        Requiem for a Dream could be another The Usual Suspects an unintended masterpiece never to be repeated again.

      • Casper Chris

        Requiem for a Dream is based on a novel. So I wouldn’t even count that as Aronofsky’s “writing”. Sure, he might’ve added a few touches here and there, but there’s a difference between adapting an existing story and writing one from scratch.

  • Stephjones

    Re: company manual– pretty funny.

  • Shaun Snyder

    “Thou Shalt Not Kill” was one of the ten commandments, which were given to Moses, who wasn’t born until several years after Noah had died. Plus…SPOILER ALERT…Noah didn’t kill his family.

    • grendl

      OOOOH, so it was alright to murder before the ten commandments.

      Got it.

      Cockamamie logic. And I don’t give a shit what a fictional character did Shaun.’

      It’s fiction.

      Or what year did Noah live exactly. And how do you know Moses existed exactly?

      If I tell you a one eyed purple gorilla made you and your loved ones, and you’re going to a zoo if you don’t accept that as gospel, what do you have to say about that?

      And if there’s paperwork written by human hand that corroborates it, does that validate it.


      You were created by a one eyed purple gorilla. Deal with it.

      • Shaun Snyder

        Oh. Of course, you’re right. Well, that does it; I’m an atheist now. Thank you, grendl.
        Actually, what you wrote was pretty funny and made me laugh out loud. Praying for you, bro.

  • Citizen M

    I found the script online. 125 pages, not including three illustrations.

    Don’t know if this part made it to the movie, but on page 4 Noah chases away thirty poachers. He throws smoke grenades that make their skin itch, then beats them up with ease because he’s “a master of military arts”.

    This is so not what I was expecting. I’m finding it hard to continue. if I were a producer i would have said “Pass” already.

    • Hadley’s Hope

      Although, the smoke grenades and Noah the military bad ass would do wonders for the video game tie-in.

    • Citizen M

      I’m about half way. It’s not so bad. Plenty of action. Noah is pretty energetic for a 600-yr-old.

      The writing is very plain. Just the basics. The dialogue also is pure information. No frills. People speaking as though someone was standing there writing down their words for posterity.

  • E.C. Henry

    I went and saw “Noah” with my mother yesterday, and lemme tell ya Darren Aronofsky and Ari Handel took considerable creative liscence with the biblical story of Noah AND another book of historical influence which is called the book of Enoch. Darren Aronofsky and Ari Handel took so much creative liscence I would tabel this film obscene and a gross missreprestation of the story of Noah as listed in the bible, AND the story of the “Watchers” (those Transformer like creatures who in the film helped Noah build and defend the ark)

    Hopefully the gross and obscene depiction of Noah and the flood will cause viewers to crack their own bibles open and find out for themselves what the historical record really has to say about the flood and the watchers.

    The grosses and most misleading thing the Noah movie does is depict the watchers as helpers to Noah. In reality they were anything but. In Genesis 6:4, you can read that “the sons of God came into the daughters of me and bore childred to them…” Those falled sons of God are part of the Watchers depicted in the book of Enonch who made an ill-conconcieved pact to take women from the earth and have sex with them. The book of Enoch states they tought men how to fight and do enchantments. Furthermore some of the children of these illicit unoions bore giants which terrorized the land. God was very angry with the watchers who had with earthy women and created hell as place of torment for them. And even when they made their appeal though Enoch to God, God was unwilling to forgive the watchers who sinned and had sex with women on earth.

    Why bring this up? Because the story of Noah makes the watchers out to be forgivable and helpers to man, when in actually the are heavenly creatures who abandoned their proper abode and ended up being judged severely for the wrongs they comitted.

    Also another BIG liberty Darren Aronofsy and Ari Handel took was adding drama by two of Noah’s sons NOT having love interests at the time of flood, when the bible states in Genesis 7:7 that Noah’s sons took their wives into the ark.

    Later after the flood waters subside one of Noah’s sons took off as a loner. THAT is not in the story of Noah, but is kind of what really happened to Cain after he slew his brother Abel.

    Hollywood has a bad reputation as bastardizing what is holy in the Christian communiity, and movies like “Noah” serve to foster and give credance to such belief. I do not hold to that belief, as I belive you always have the choice to do right or do wrong with a given subject and a given storytellers take on that subject matter. Too bad the makers of “Noah” FAILED to capture the holyness of God in all of this. FAILED to honor their Creator in the rendering of a true story He gave and preserved of ther years for a reason. Did see “The Son of God” which was released last month and direct contrast to Darren Aronofsy’s “Noah”, “The Son of God” was a reverant film which was true to the subject matter and did not exceed the bounds of good taste.

  • Linkthis83

    I love Jim Jefferies and his take on religion. Here’s the part just about Noah:

    The whole bit is here:

    • ScottStrybos

      You have introduced me to someone who is now one of my favorite comedians… Thank-you.

      • Franchise Blueprints

        Who knew someone would fill George Carlins shoes.

    • Midnight Luck

      That is F’ng hilarious.

      He brings up another glaring issue in this story of Noah,
      How did he get everyones food on board? Every single animal has it’s own unique diet. In fact, many of the animals EAT the other animals. So how come, when the family opened the doors at the end, not only did only half the family come out, but only a few of the animals? Because the Tigers, if they get hungry would have killed pretty much everything else, the Giraffe’s need enormous tall trees with little leaves, the Apes need fruit. What, did everyone just go on a starvation diet? Everyone isn’t ok with just drinking Barleywine and calling it good. It is a Fairy Tale of Biblical proportions I reckon.

      • Kirk Diggler

        Shhhh…. you are asking questions that you’re not supposed to be asking. I asked a Mormon friend of mine once a very similar question. He just smiled like he knew the answer and I was the dumb one for asking.

        • Midnight Luck

          I guess we are both the dumb ones.
          Asking such obvious, yet stupid questions.
          The answers are right there. I think.
          God solved it all, right? Chose to magically provide food, yet not just save all the animals without Noah, or an Arc? If so, why did Noah even need to load a male and female animal into a giant Arc? why didn’t God in all his / her / its (whatever people’s pleasure) infinite wisdom just save a pair of them? or make them suddenly grow gills and be able to live in water or something. An all powerful being should be able to solve this shit without needing any of us little insignificant ants to do the dirty work.

          Oh wait, you said I should be quiet and not ask questions. I am so dumb that I can’t even see how obvious the answers to these stupid questions I am raising are. Ok, I’ll sit down and be quiet now.

          Logic doesn’t work when the Bible is the subject.

          • Kirk Diggler

            How did the kangaroos get on the arc? Or any species native to Australia or South America? And where did all the extra water come from to flood the entire planet?

            The funny thing is, there was a recent theory/discovery that states that beneath the earth’s crust (250-375 miles) is enough water or water molecules to EQUAL the entire volume of all the Earth’s oceans put together. When creationists hear stuff like this, they use these discoveries to supports their own biblical beliefs about the Flood. “See, that’s where all the water came from!” Of course how it got BACK under the crust is another discussion. With the god of the gaps, anything is possible.

          • Midnight Luck

            yes, that is a really good answer!
            which only brings up a thousand more questions that can’t be answered.
            and probably shouldn’t be asked. on a thread like this.

          • MaliboJackk

            There are an estimated 7.77 million animal species.

            (Not sure Noah knew this when he bid the job.)

          • Midnight Luck

            we’re gonna need a bigger boat….

            good thing the birds and bees and cats and mice and cougars and antelope can all get along. not to mention the virus’ and people, and praying mantis’ and, well praying mantis’, since they bite each others heads off after sex.

          • Citizen M

            In the script, the animals just pitch up and walk into the ark, first the birds, then the reptiles, then the mammals, then the insects. Noah and his boys put them to sleep using smoke from herbs. They are presumably in some sort of coma for the voyage.

          • Franchise Blueprints

            Whats wrong with getting a little head?

          • MaliboJackk

            Did the math one time.
            If I remember correctly, the Titanic was more than
            twice the size of the ark, and carried a total of 3,327
            passengers and crew.

          • E.C. Henry


          • E.C. Henry

            Genesis 6:21 (God speaking and BTW HE is male) “”As for you, take for yourself some of all food which is edible, and gather it to yourself; and it shall be food for you and for them.””

            Thus God instructed Noah to gather food in prepartion before the flood. Now the bible doesn’t say how much food was gathered, only that God instructed Noah to do this. Noah must have done SOMETHING right because in Genesis 7:1 God says something pretty cool about Noah, “Then the Lord said to Noah, “Enter the ark, you and all your household, for you alone I have seen to be righteous before Me in this time.”

            Talk about being honored. God saw Noah as being righteous. Wouldn’t you want such an honor? Its obtainable you know? Consider the story of Job, God bragged about that man to the devil, “Have you considered my servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil.” Job 1:8

            Key point: you CAN please God. Varrious people throughout biblical history have done that. No reason YOU can’t join their ranks!

        • E.C. Henry

          Always ask questions. God AND his followers are always willing to tackle a few questions…

      • E.C. Henry

        The story of Noah has God’s fingerprints all over it. Consider what is written in Genesis 6:19-20 (God speaking) “”And of evey living of all flesh, you shall bring two of every kind into the ark, to them alive with you; they shall be male and female. Of the birds after their kind, and of all the animals after their kind, of every creeping thing of the ground aft its kind, two of every kind will come to you to keep them alive.””

        The key is, do you belive that God is active in the world arround you? I do. Silent, yes. But active, most deflinately yes. To answer the question you posed, God moved in the hearts of the animals so that they would take amazing action so as to be saved. Do you believe that God can cause animals to act a certain way? I do. This phenomenom is echoed again in the book of Daniel when Daniel is thrown into the lion’s den, the lion doesn’t eat Daniel, but the moment Daniel’s accusers are thrown in, the lion devowers them. Another example of God using animals for His glory.

  • ximan

    “First off though, I have some questions for the religious folks. Do people really believe that the earth used to have giants and 6-armed monsters and talking snakes? Why did these things die off and why isn’t there any evidence of them? I guess they may have died off in this flood? Is that the story? Still, if animals used to be able to talk, why can’t they talk anymore? Do religious folks have an answer to this? I have to be honest, it all sounds a little silly to me.”

    OK. I’m *NOT* religious. Religion is ugly. It’s dead. It’s responsible for all the wars in the world, at least before capitalism was created–but then again, capitalism is its own kind of religion. What I *am* is a pursuer of truth and a student of the bible. There’s a big difference.

    To answer your questions: Yes, the earth had giants (sans 6-arms), but in the literal sense of the word (tall, behemoth men–Goliath was 10 feet tall). As a matter of fact, the earth still has giants (Yao Ming), but these men were tall and strong because…wait for it…they were the offspring of demons and women! The bible doesn’t go into much detail, but it hints at a group of demons figuring out how God would plant his son in a woman and using that spiritual power to *birth* themselves as half-men, half-demon, so that they could…wait for it…experience orgasms. I know. Ew.

    As far as talking snakes, you have to remember that the book of Genesis was written in Aramaic (an ancient form of Hebrew). The word used there as “serpent” is “seraphim” which actually literally translates to “shining one”. This is the “devil who makes himself appear as an angel of light”. HOWEVER, he *IS* called the great serpent of the spiritual world, so the scripture is still accurate (just on multiple levels). Point is: Have you ever seen a woman leave her husband to talk to a snake? No. Have you ever seen one leave her husband to talk to a beautiful “man of light”? Still no?? Let me introduce you to all of my exes! :)

  • JKA

    The faith based entertainment market has proven to be extremely lucrative partly because there’s NO competition and a HUGE market. The market is made up of generally more middle of the road folks, not the very loud handful of conservative meanie stereotypes that come to mind. There’s a fair amount of interest and talk about faith based projects from what I see in my work in a biz/legal department. I was recently involved with a project that was the most successful ever for it’s company’s 24 year history, which shocked many people. The fact that you are seeing features that tie to biblical stories (public domain!) reflects several years of momentum already, and now I fear that it is becoming cliche already. But this market has to be handled with some knowledge and Noah, which I saw this weekend in a full theater at an 11:00 am Sunday screening, FAILED. Where do I begin? It took theological ideas that people hold dear to heart and “took liberties” that basically made the underlying story and themes irrelevant. You are allowed a some liberty to interpret the Bible, but introducing completely new character & narrative elements and superimposing weak and inconsistent theme took it too far. In the end it felt totally like a bait and switch, with high production value and a schizophrenic bizarre storyline. The patrons in my screening were very underwhelmed. It would have been better to rewrite the Noah story 2000 years in the future and call it something else – get two of everything on the space ship and restart somewhere else… I mean, what if the Lego movie hand morphed into a tinkertoy movie half way through? No one would be happy with that.

  • Linkthis83

    I watched it. I liked it.

  • MaliboJackk

    Churches have an agenda.

    They use people’s limited knowledge about the history behind the Bible and limited knowledge of its text, to tell you what to believe and think — mainly by selectively picking passages which would appear to support their agenda — and ignoring those that don’t.

    One Example: Jesus said — Give your money to the poor and follow me.
    Churches say — Give your money to me and follow us (attend our church).

    If people understood Jesus’s compassion for the poor.

    If they understood his resentment of wealth (read the gospels — look how many times Jesus mentions his distaste for money).

    Would Jesus even recognize the Catholic church with its Pope, Cardinals and all its dogma?
    He would be appalled at the wealth. The wealth that the Vatican has accumulated.

  • MaliboJackk

    No offense intended.

    • Kirk Diggler

      If he didn’t get it the first time, spelling it out will only further confuse.

  • Peter Baum

    :( Why does everyone have to bash religion. If someone wants to believe the story of Noah let them, it’s not like they are forcing you to do the same. As for the religious people who don’t like this version of Noah, I can completely agree with you. I felt the same way when they remade Total Recall into a shit sandwich. Damn you Len Weismen you are no Paul Verhoveen and they need to stop remaking that man’s great films!

    • MaliboJackk

      Why does religion have to bash science?

      • Peter Baum

        Exactly. You are no different then they are. Each side bashes the other one for not seeing it their way. It’s completely idiotic. Yet some how, each side feels superior to the other and that’s the reason why people fight over stupid beliefs. People are insecure and want to prove themselves superior or make themselves feel better. So keep thinking you are better than they are but in truth you are no different.

        • MaliboJackk

          Is the study of science based on stupid beliefs?

  • ximan

    This is major bible-nerdness, but when you check the concordance, the only time that particular phrase “sons of God” was used was to describe angelic beings. The bible even goes on to say that these demons were severely punished and are currently being bound at the river Euphrates until God releases them during the end times. He couldn’t do that if they were just mortal men.

    This all points to the complete vileness of the world before the flood, and it is foretold that it will be this way again before the second destruction by fire. “As it was in the days of Noah,” where demons and men were mingled. God finds this so vile that he just wipes everything out and resets.

    • Franchise Blueprints

      I wasn’t really trying to oppose your viewpoint. Its just when it comes to direct human interaction between entities from heaven or hell in the bible, torah, koran, ect. I find those passages interesting.

      On a side note did you notice that author wrote a 23 line paragraph and only used one period. I need the grammar/syntax police to investigate.

      • MaliboJackk

        Did you notice?
        God doesn’t use “we see”.

        (don’t tell grendl)

  • Citizen M

    The mid-point, say pages 63 to 69, is worth reading. Call it the Battle of the Ark. It combines big family drama and big action in the final moments as Akkad’s forces storm the Ark and the rains come. It’s so dramatically intense it’s going to be hard to top for the second half of the film. It’s almost as if it was written as a two-part movie with Part 1 being the building of the Ark and the rains coming, and Part 2 the aftermath.

    The situation on page 69 of 125 is: on the Ark we have Noah and his wife, Shem and his wife, Ham angry at his father, and Akkad stowed away and Ham knowing he’s there. The animals are all drugged and asleep. Ham and Japheth are without wives, but there are still a few humans on the mountain tops. Hmmm…. I wonder what the screenwriter will do with this, bearing in mind he can’t veer too far from the Bible story? Carson reckons the story just drifts from here. Let’s see.

    • Citizen M

      Agree with Carson. The second half is very low key. Lots of family drama but no big scenes to match the first half.

      For me, a major problem is Noah’s determination that his family will be the last of the line, that his youngest, Japheth, will be the last human on earth. This is the central driving force of the drama in the second half.

      Yet nowhere does God explicitly order it. God only talks of destroying “all flesh”, “for the earth is filled with violence through them.” God will save those on the Ark.

      The way I see it, the unborn are not responsible for filling the earth with violence, and those on the Ark (which includes Noah and his family) are explicitly chosen by God to survive. So my reading is that Noah is wrong. I couldn’t help feeling that the whole second half was based on a false premise. I just couldn’t buy into it.

  • Citizen M

    methane-producing microbes were responsible for the worst mass extinction in history

    The tiny organisms suddenly began belching out the greenhouse gas methane – which is about 20 per cent more potent than carbon dioxide – some 250 million years ago. Fumes spurted from the oceans wiping out 90 per cent of all species, from snails and small crustaceans to early forms of lizards and amphibians in less than 20,000 years.

    The Bible got it wrong. It wasn’t a flood, it was an earthfart.

  • Midnight Luck

    yes i know, that is what i was referring to. a mass murderer who says his dog told him to do it.

  • fragglewriter

    Not going to see the movie but liked your tips. I think internal doubt and external conflict work great together.

  • Guest

    Ugh Carson did you actually watch the movie/read the script? Noah had three sons. You forgot the youngest one. Also, he wasn’t going to kill off the family, he explained as everyone naturally died off, the next person in line would bury them. The only people he was going to kill was the twins and no one really thought he’d do that. I do to think Noah was despicable. I see him as the first sufferer ever of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, having to handle the horror of knowing everyone in the world around him is dying. Hard to be totally sane after dealing with that.

    • Guest

      I meant I do not see noah as despicable.