Ari Handel Interview
A Conversation with Ari Handel about the Movie “Noah”
Interviewed and written by Aaron Robinson – Editor
Once as a Neuroscientist and now one of the industry’s most profound film producers and writers of our time, Ari Handel has achieved many accomplishments to be proud of. Handel has been responsible for producing films such as “The Wrestler”, “Black Swan”, and “The Fountain”, as well as co-writing and producing “Noah”, one of the biggest movies of this year with producer, film director, and screenwriter Darren Aronofsky.
The movie “Noah” is based off the biblical story of the man Noah who was chosen to pursue and undertake a great mission by the creator to rescue mankind and species from an apocalyptic flood that cleansed away the wicked from the earth. This epic story is also of courage, sacrifice and hope, having to be known as a deeply moving and profoundly spiritual story of meaning.
“Noah” was recently released on the date of March 28 by Paramount Pictures and Regency Enterprises, starring some of the biggest stars in the entertainment industry, such as, Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, and Anthony Hopkins, just to name a few.
I was granted the opportunity to speak with Ari Handel regarding his involvement with the film “Noah”. Handel was sincere, direct and open; nonetheless, engaged, taking much interest in our conversation. Days prior, while teasers the interview was posted throughout the Consciousness Magazine social networks regarding the publication anticipating of interviewing Handel, there were many readers who had questions when it came to the making of the film “Noah” and much more. Here is what Mr. Ari Handel had to share with the readers during our brief conversation.
Aaron Robinson: Hi Mr. Ari Handel. I just want to thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to pursue the interview.
Ari Handel: No Worries, thank you for wanting to talk.
Aaron: What was your goal or intent regarding making this film?
Ari: We thought that Noah, the story Genesis, was an amazing powerful dramatic story. We wanted to try bringing that to the screen and use all of the tools and modern storytelling, modern biblical facts and film making techniques, and great casting and acting to make that story come to life and to let people engage with it; It’s 21st century. All people, whether they are religious, non-religious, young or old, can look at the story fresh and grapple with the ideas there and be entertained by it.
Aaron: What is your take upon the criticism of this film, due to it not being close to bible terms?
Ari: A lot of people I think had criticism of it, often seeing the film, a lot of that went away when people just started to see it. A lot of people who possessed early criticism felt that we weren’t being respectful to the bible and I think that everyone that sees the film will recognize that we took the Noah story very seriously. We cared a lot about what we were doing. We grounded everything we did in Genesis and biblical scholarship and most certainly changed things. Well that is, we most certainly changed people’s expectations. They are going to see things that are not what they think they are going to see. They are going to see an ark that doesn’t look anything like an ark that they expected. And things are going to happen that aren’t exclusively stated in the text. So, all of those are things that are grounded either in the bible or in biblical commentary, or in the themes and questions that the bible contain.
Aaron: How much research was done regarding filming this film and how did you go by researching the facts other then getting information from the bible?
Ari: I have a bibliography that I put together, just as the things I read in book form. That doesn’t include articles or doesn’t Include anything I’ve done online, which is a bulk of what I did, lines of single space bibliographies that run over 4 pages long. We read a tremendous amount of biblical scholarships, talked to a lot of people who have explained this professionally all their lives, and basically did everything we could to grabble with the text and history of its interpretation as possible, to try and get it together.
Aaron: Do you think you got your message across in the film?
Ari: I hope so! See look, it comes down to rather people enjoy the film and are moved by the film, and feel like they come out of there [the movie theater] and talk about it and debate it. If we did that or any of them things then we accomplished that, but that is going to depend on each and every person who goes to see it and how they feel coming out.
Aaron: When upon the set of the film did you encounter any spiritual encounters related to Noah?
Ari: When you make a movie this size there are so many people involved that who knows what all the things that all those different people are experiencing, you know. I can’t speak for everyone. I can say there’s this one moment, where every single person on set incredibly moved. What happened was, we were filming the part of the film which is after the ark had come directly to the new world and the animals would come off and the family is there, and they’re building their kind of house and getting ready to live in the new world; they made it through the flood. The ark was there and it was going to be a digital ark that we had shot at that point, laid out where it was and the family actors was there and there was this mountain in the background. And standing on the ridge where we were standing with a camera, we looked out and there were these rain clouds. We couldn’t shoot that because it had to be right to shoot that scene, because it was after the flood was over. And one of the local guys said ‘in five minutes that the sun would come out’. And sure enough, five minutes later the clouds just blew off, an enormous rainbow stretched from one side of the mountains to the other were with the ark literally standing right in between and the rainbow flamed every member of the cast and the entire set was flamed by that rainbow which was just laid there upon our set exactly where a rainbow would be in the story. That was pretty amazing!
Aaron: Do you think there is going to be a new niche or new genre when it comes to religion or Christian films?
Ari: Sure! I think that the bible is filled with tremendous stories, but I think they’re actually not just Christian. I think there are Jewish stories, Christian stories and Muslim stories, but there are also stories for non-believers too. There’s powerful stories for all people and I think that the fact that they have not been used in making popular films the last fifty or so years very much, that’s the anomaly. People will always go back to these stories to tell them and grabble with them because they are extremely universal moving stories, so yes, I would imagine that.
Aaron: Thank you so much Mr. Handel for the interview!
Ari: Thank you Aaron!