Q: How did your fascination with the story of Noah begin?
A: It all started with a poem I wrote when I was 13 years old. I had a magical English teacher and she said, 'Everyone write a poem about peace.' I ended up writing a poem on Noah. It's one of the greatest stories of human kind. It is a core story of three major religions – Judaism, Islam, and Christianity. Every culture in the world has heard of Noah, and many have their own flood story. There's something about that narrative that's elemental to humanity.
Q: Are you anxious at all about the potential for controversy a religious film like this carries?
A: I don't think so. The film is completely honouring the text. Of course there is some interpretation…and Noah never speaks in the story. If you have Russell Crowe, you're going to have him speaking. How to turn that small story into a full film was a big question mark, but I think that believers will get everything that they want from the film, thematically. It's a film where we looked at the evidence that's there. It's a world that's unlike anything that we can understand. In the same way that Middle Earth was created, we decided to create a world out of the clues from the Bible. We were able to build something that's fantastical, but very truthful to the story. I really think this is the perfect film to bring believers and non-believers together, to develop a conversation between both sides.
Q: Does your own faith come into it?
A: What I believe is not important. What's important is how I treated the text, and the text is completely a truth to me. I looked at it and saw that I wanted to bring the story of Noah to life, so that's the most important part. The reality and truth of that text is what people are going to see at the theatre. So it's not a personal discussion. That's a discussion that I take very seriously.
Q: What is it that is so enduring about these biblical narratives?
A: They're the original superhero films and extraordinary stories.