For most films with less than six months left to go until release, we’ve usually seen at least a glimpse of footage at this point, but for Darren Aronofsky‘s Biblical epic Noah, Paramount has kept us in the dark. However, it looks like it has all been for good reason, as a new profile on the director from DGA Quarterly, reveals new details about the extensive visual effects process the film is currently undergoing.

One might expect a mixture of real and CGI-created animals, two by two, for this production, but the director says there was not a single live animal on set during the New York and Iceland shoot. He says, “We had to create an entire animal kingdom. 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.”

He reveals he worked with Industrial Light & Magic to go “through the animal kingdom and pinpointed the body types we wanted: some pachyderms, some rodents, reptiles, and the bird kingdom. We chose the species and they were brought to life with different furs and colors. We didn’t want anything fully recognizable but not completely absurd either.”

With a mix of “fantastical creature [and] fantastical events,” the Black Swan director says, “there’s a huge deluge. What you’re photographing is often not the thing that will appear on screen—that’s the underpinning. There will be a huge amount of visual architecture placed on top of that, and that sort of makes it a different job. Sometimes only the actor’s face will be in the final image.” He says this effects-heavy production has led to a record-setting job by ILM, who recently confirmed “they had just done the most complicated rendering in the company’s history involving the animals on the Ark.”

The Fountain director goes on to explain, “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.’” With a trailer arriving soon, we’ll get our first glimpse at the film and while under other direction one may be wary of such heavy CGI implementation, Aronofsky has proved in his previous work that he can seamlessly blend this aspect in, so we’re greatly looking forward to what’s in store.

Noah, starring Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Logan Lerman, Kevin Durand, Emma Watson, Anthony Hopkins and Ray Winstone, opens on March 28th.

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