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‘Noah’ Screenwriter Explains Why No Black People Were Cast in Film

Darren Aronofsky’s  film “Noah,” had rock monsters, armadillo-looking deer, horse creatures with scales, and a crapload of berries, but nary a Black person (or an Asian, or a Latino for that matter). How to explain such a thing?

Co-screenwriter Ari Handel fielded the question during an interview with The High Calling (via Indiewire).

“From the beginning, we were concerned about casting, the issue of race. What we realized is that this story is functioning at the level of myth, and as a mythical story, the race of the individuals doesn’t matter. They’re supposed to be stand-ins for all people. Either you end up with a Bennetton ad or the crew of the Starship Enterprise. You either try to put everything in there, which just calls attention to it, or you just say, ‘Let’s make that not a factor, because we’re trying to deal with everyman.’ Looking at this story through that kind of lens is the same as saying, ‘Would the ark float and is it big enough to get all the species in there?’ That’s irrelevant to the questions because the questions are operating on a different plane than that; they’re operating on the mythical plane.”

Do you agree?

Source: uproxx.com

What people are saying

133 thoughts on “‘Noah’ Screenwriter Explains Why No Black People Were Cast in Film

  1. Daniel Gaskins says:

    It just highlights what we already know.

  2. Yatonte Merideth says:

    Its really not that big of a deal….

  3. Kenneth Johnson says:

    Ok, so this film is a total fantasy with no relationship to any real people, or peoples. Right! What other films has Co-screenwriter Ari Handel worked on? And the director? With the same point of view?

  4. Burke Cochrane says:

    Then there should be none sitting in the theaters. I had no interest in seeing this movie.

  5. All he had to say is this was my project and I cast whom I choose. The explanation only proved what we already knew. i will bring attention to the line where he states, "They’re supposed to be stand-ins for all people." IMO, this should have been the reason to use different races, unless you REALLY think that 'whites' represent all races, like most movies try to portray. Anyway, I wouldn't go watch it even if 'blacks' or 'hispanics' were in it, it looks horrible!

  6. Its so funny how these KKK are ready to use the stories of Noah's sons Shem, Ham and Japheth in their superiority narratives as depicting race but still find it convenient to ignore race. Double-standards when something they dont like is in film they are quick to criticise but when something is not liked by other people they call a myth or justva fantasy.

  7. Michelle Esinam Renee says:

    bullshit!

  8. Maalik Ali says:

    Ok, if thats the case then why not cast it more realistically and make them black? Ill tell you why not, because a black casted movie wouldn't earn as much.

  9. What is a MYTH? Definition of MYTHOLOGY? Is this true of all the stories of the Bible?

  10. Hogwash…when selecting actors, who auditioned, I am quite certain actor of color tried out…stop playing sir and just say we wanted a white cast!

  11. Hogwash…when selecting actors, who auditioned, I am quite certain actors of color were presengt…stop playing sir and just say we wanted a white cast!

  12. If race doesn't matter why not cast an all black crew then. A all white cast is representative of all people? Why does it always "not matter" when it involves the exclusion of black people? I agree with Ellis, just say I did it coz I wanted it that way!

  13. If race doesn't matter why not cast an all black crew then. A all white cast is representative of all people? Why does it always "not matter" when it involves the exclusion of black people? I agree with Ellis, just say I did it coz I wanted it that way!

  14. I wanted to see this until I heard of all the extra they added and now this?? Why jot stick to the actual story? Whites should never be used as the representative gor all races.

  15. Tee Cop says:

    Rev I have clicked on every version of his comment and … nope, no clarification and NOPE still doesn't make sense

  16. Tee Cop says:

    Rev I have clicked on every version of his comment and … nope, no clarification and NOPE still doesn't make sense

  17. K.c. White says:

    Aronofsky's atheist…

  18. Robert E. Brown says:

    Race doesn't matter! Race doesn't matter! Race doesn't matter!

  19. Darryl Rush says:

    When it comes down to it the portrayal of biblical characters have always been european and I don't see that changing because it is a european who is making the movie. The Image be it positive or negative is a powerful thing. We still believe that god has to be as white as snow cause the slave master told us so. I'll get it on boot leg. Ha,ha,ha!

  20. Ok, so first, they take God out of it ALL TOGETHER, then they give some lame excuse for why they are no people of other ethnic backgrounds. THIS IS STRAIGHT UP TRASH! Artistic freedom gone wrong.

  21. According to the media, there were no black people in ancient times and there is only 1 black guy in the far future.

  22. Deshrine Ussin says:

    Well, I'll still be on a boat…pirating.

  23. Donna Hamilton says:

    Robert E. Brown if it didn't matter why not put other race in it?

  24. Just trying to blow smoke!

  25. I agree that Hollywood puts out more negative images of black people than positive (or no images at all in the case of this film), but guess what? Hollywood is not going to change, and we shouldn't expect it to. So rather than continue to complain about what Hollywood is doing to us or not doing for us, why don't we just start backing independent black projects and control our own images? Oh, but wait, black folks are too scared to do that, I forgot.

  26. Johnny Lynch says:

    Nice attempt at eloquent BS.

  27. His explanation is a lie, and he knew it was a lie, just as the movie in itself is a LIE !! Noah is a horrible movie. Please do not waste your time and money.

  28. Tee Pitts says:

    Don't go see the movie…the only color bigots respect is GREEN!

  29. Keith Clarke says:

    That response is total bull. Netflix is where I will see this film, I think.

  30. Saleem H Muhammad says:

    That was so lame! who does he think he's fooling.

  31. Mattg Yeatts says:

    Why does it matter it a fucking movie. People are always focusing on dumb shit.

  32. Jamal Young says:

    It doesn't matter but money does.Besides it never happened.

  33. Jamal Young says:

    The Bible is full of fantasy and you still have blacks believing that crap actually happened.

  34. Maya Abilio says:

    Robert E. Brown if race doesn't matter would you watch a movie about Columbus played by Jackie Chan

  35. Olga Chavez says:

    I have not seen this movie,but I am so glad that there are no blacks in it. This movie should not be. First it was directed by an Atheist and think it is very funny how it draws Christians or anyone that believe in the bible. This person is just making jokes out of not black, white, or any other race, His joke is on Christians. So I will not be spending time or money to watch this movie. And I think him for not having any of us in his film.

  36. Every man equates Pink Skin?

    Last i checked Brown Skin equates joe every person

  37. Why do Pink Skins miss the point then ask why do others care?

  38. Goran Juric says:

    Maya, maya 😉

  39. Goran Juric says:

    It si if black people think that it is

  40. Goran Juric says:

    How do you know that, you havn't seen the movie?

  41. Donna Hamilton says:

    Maya Abilio I happen think it really do matter and i don't think i would care to see a movie about Columbus.

  42. Doug Williams says:

    No. "Everyman," isn't white. Especially when you take the WORLD'S Christian population into account, much less the population of the world. Or is Christianity only for European people, even though it started with a Middle Eastern Jew and is supposed to be a universal story?

  43. Being Black says:

    He's right this is about myth not facts read the bible and look at ancient pictures and you will see that there was no white people back then they were black this is fiction not fact if you want to see a fairytale(LIE)then see this movie but note it's not truth it's fantasy

  44. Acton Wilson says:

    the bridge of lies that they have spent centuries to build is collapsing in their faces.This is just another effort to save a false ideology.No one is falling for this crap anymore .

  45. Brandon Walker says:

    He could've come up with something better than this. Be transparent and say that you did not want Black people in it. Serious as a Black man I would not have been offended. I am offended, as a historian that you cast a nearly all White cast in a movie about a myth that occurs in the Middle East. I mean even the Bible gives descriptions of the people. Modern science has proven what Middle Eastern people look like. Hey its your movie though.
    #anallwhitemiddleeast #realfiction #noahsark #basicinstructionsbeforeleavingearth

  46. Jamie MrBrownstone Still says:

    This movie isn't biblical anyway. Rock men didn't come out the earth to help with the ark and Noah didn't try to kill his family like this movie portrays. If I were black I'd be happy I wasn't in it, bc this movie is anything BUT Christian… Written by an atheist what do u expect

  47. Good thing this is MYTH

  48. Kenza Ashley H says:

    A myth……

  49. Nicole Danielle Hardy says:

    The story line was bullshit anyway thank God there were no black people in that abomination This movie in no way glorified God so let the devils and demons have their version of Noah

  50. Allan Powe says:

    As a good friend always says, anything universal includes everyone. "Everyman" = white is just bullish*t!

  51. Allan Powe says:

    As a good friend always says, anything universal includes everyone. "Everyman" = white is just bullish*t!

  52. Gully Jewelz says:

    Heck no! I don't agree. Although I don't expect liars to tell the truth for the sake of telling the truth. And his lack of courage in stating all that malarkey instead of saying he doesn't believe the biblical story has anything to do with people of color is humorous as well.

  53. Gully Jewelz says:

    Heck no! I don't agree. Although I don't expect liars to tell the truth for the sake of telling the truth. And his lack of courage in stating all that malarkey instead of saying he doesn't believe the biblical story has anything to do with people of color is humorous as well.

  54. Frederic Birota says:

    This movie is just wrong anyway.

    Stealing ownership of a myth… hijacking the story… selling this false version of the story… stating that only one people can replace and represent mankind, or let's just say the people who share this story… mocking the possibility of performing diversity accurately… is just wrong.

    The answer in the interview actually illustrates the choices made by part of mankind which is supposedly questioned in the movie.

  55. Push Nevahda says:

    It IS horrible. Absolutely terrible.

  56. Vince Oaks says:

    Cool, not going to see it.

  57. Vince Oaks says:

    Cool, not going to see it.

  58. Shandle Williams says:

    what a load of bs. that's just as bad as "I don't see colour", but did one really expect anythingelse. just look at their last names. smt.

  59. Hmmm i will use that argument when I cast my next all-Black movie

  60. Carol Dale says:

    Go reason for me not to see, no minorities. Does he realize that their are more people of color than are white people.

  61. Dumb white people always running everything…

  62. The movie co-stars Jennifer Connelly, whose mother is Jewish, and Logan Lerman, who is 100% Jewish. Surely they can play Old Testament characters.

  63. He can cast whoever he wishes for his artwork. Personally it turned me off knowing there are only white people in the movie and probably won't see it. But if you are angry or offended then you obtain the experience and qualifications to become a writer or producer and make your own movie, with who you want.

  64. Leah Snyder says:

    oh yeah, the 'everyman'. He gets all the roles.

  65. on this instance on this casting was not actually racist as the "Tower of Babel" had not yet happened…In all honesty we don't know what the original people looked like nore do we know what language they spoke. I guess it is possible that it was Hebrew but we don't know. Please note that this movie is not accurate to Scripture at all and is a very BIG misrepresentation. V/R

  66. Sherice Isler says:

    We need to stop sniffing white people's behinds and make, play, and direct are own movies. We give to much power to white folks who aren't, won't, and don't give a damn about nobody but themselves. Start investing in your own ( that includes your race, jobs, families, education and so on).

  67. Andre Harris EL says:

    You can't explain the fact black people been aroundl longer and chances are noah was black so thy lie and make shit….

  68. Whatever the filmmakers' intentions were is not my issue. My issue is how black people continue to sit idly and wait for the dominant society to one day accept us when that is not going to happen. If black people really put their minds to it, we could create an alternate to the films that Hollywood put out. Images that suit us as a collective. There are so many independent black film projects on the shelf right now, but black people aren't putting the money up for them like white people put up the money to support those within their community.

  69. Hmm was Noah white?

  70. Tyson Walz says:

    i love how Christians complained about historical inaccuracy's which is funny since everything in the bible is made up

  71. There's no black people in Avatar either, which is also a movie based on a made up story.

  72. G Lloyd Collar says:

    It's a mythological story regardless. Never happened. We all know Hollywood's history with people of color anyway so what does it matter. It's a fairy tale and one that doesn't even stay true to the source material.

  73. G Lloyd Collar says:

    It's a mythological story regardless. Never happened. We all know Hollywood's history with people of color anyway so what does it matter. It's a fairy tale and one that doesn't even stay true to the source material.

  74. John Hughes says:

    He could have also picked one of the myriad branches of Christianity that claim all black people are the wicked descendants of Ham, and therefore didn't chronologically exist at the time. If all you can nitpick about this film is race, and not its worthless source material, then I see little complaint.

  75. John Hughes says:

    Let's not forget that sometimes this race stuff gets a little nutty given the material. If a film was set in Africa, and was about a indigenous tribe, would caucasians have a claim to a role? No. If film were set in ancient China, I wouldn't expect to see any white, black, or hispanic people there. Shit, Marvel's Thor gave us a black Heimdall (who did a bad-ass job) but in ancient Norse times there simply weren't black people in Norway, Iceland, and Denmark, much less the clearly described deity figures. This bitching seems like a complaint without a cause.

  76. John Hughes says:

    Anwar Khurshid About as white as the Jesus we're all force-fed daily.

  77. I think the point to focus on is where he says "which just calls attention to it". Drawing attention to what? The fact nature saw fit to bring into existence a multitude of ethnicities within one race. Fact is, there is no denying when ever a film maker tries to represent the world as it is. He/she is always bashed for trying to be truthful. As if the right thing to do it perpetuate the myth that only white people exist. People use the excuse that their story isn't trying to deal with racism. So casting a multi racial cast would be complicating things. As if every time a multi racial cast is present on film, racism is always a major theme. Star trek has a multi racial cast, that being said. It is still heavy on the white side. I've never watched star trek and found myself thinking "God the racism, every episode dealing with racism, it's too much". It's funny because had they made it multi racial no one would of noticed. It's only when you colour block it. One ethnicity or the other, then you notice. Would there really of been an article about the Noah film casting people of differing ethnicities. I think not. New Girl manages to pull it off and they only occupy a down town loft.

  78. John Hughes says:

    In Avatar's case, the evil people also happen to be brown people. Go figure. Even still, it would be like complaining no Jews or Blacks were used in the casting of Nazi soldiers for a period WW2 film.

  79. John Hughes says:

    In Avatar's case, the evil people also happen to be brown people. Go figure. Even still, it would be like complaining no Jews or Blacks were used in the casting of Nazi soldiers for a period WW2 film.

  80. John Hughes says:

    While it is true we all share African origins, there was enough time and geographical separation for evolutionary change to craft enough difference in physical appearance that he would likely have not, if there was a historical Noah, been classified as black.

  81. Makes since to me that no black people are in this myth because no black people was in this myth.this is a middle eastern story.Black people need to make their own movies about Africa. Showing.Showing the real story of humanity ,when at the origins of humanity ,their are no white people.just black people

  82. Truth is truth .Their are no black people in the myth

  83. Josh Keith says:

    This was supposed to take place in one secluded part of the world. A part where everyone is the same race.

    If I remember correctly (which I may not), We were all (supposedly) one race, one ethnicity and shared the same language. It was not until the Tower of Babel was destroyed that we were sent to all parts of the world where we all developed different languages, races and ethnic groups.

    Noah's Ark took place BEFORE the Tower of Babel, so everyone was going to be the same.

  84. hebrews 7:14 For it is evident that our Lord (CHRIST) sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood. —

  85. hebrews 7:14 For it is evident that our Lord (CHRIST) sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood. —

  86. garbage in garbage out…

  87. Maya Abilio when the movie ANNIE was recast & featured a BLACK KID, the pale faces got angry & disrespectful!!! did i mention that Annie is a fictitious character…. who has FAR less significance than a MYTHOLOGICAL character……

  88. Malik Brown says:

    Casting Africans in the movie would debunk the Hamitic myth. Casting only whites is an attempt to reinforce it.

  89. Charles Thomas says:

    RealBlack Atheists There are no white people in the myth either.

  90. Tony Hill says:

    Yet I know a lot of black people paid to see this movie. I don't plan on seeing it.

  91. Hell no he made a conscious effort to exclude. Because. He already had a excuse

  92. Tony Hill says:

    They have to continue promoting their race because they know the time is coming when they will not be on the planet. The sun is taking care of that.

  93. What a BS reply to the question. The fact is the oldest bones ever found of a human was a black woman, in Africa, so if any race represents all of mankind it is black people. Does he know how all races came from this black woman? Read the book the Isis papers by Dr Francis Cress it will blow your mind about the origins of all races and why racism exists. .

  94. Given I suspect most people won't read the book the Isis papers remember what happened to Michael Jackson when he started to lose the ability to create Melonin. He skin went from black to white!!!

  95. Peter A. Treadwell says:

    Noah's three sons names reflected their skin tone, Ham was the dark color child and the father of the dark skin people.

  96. Len Zanger says:

    Having no people of color at the time of the flood is Biblically accurate. Black people didn't exist yet — Noah's son Ham (and all his descendants) was cursed with black skin and perpetual servitude for the sin of seeing his old man drunk and naked. And you thought talking shrubbery was screwed up?

  97. Chris Smith says:

    Whitewashed movies as usual

  98. i dont think i will be watching this,

  99. Amin Izrael says:

    Disagree , It's the same as when some one screams GOD doesn't have a race while simultaneously holding up a picture of White Jesus. Pretty lazy but classic answer. They knew the would maximize their profits worldwide w' an all white cast.

  100. Michael Lindsay says:

    "mythical story" sounds about right.

  101. Honey Matt Matt Child says:

    Everyone here is butt hurt. Hahaha

  102. Freeman T Geiger says:

    Any Black person that falls for those "Ghost-spell" stories and goes to see it deserves that extra bit of brainwashing

  103. Those stone giant people was black lol cursed, good hearts, helping white people (as usual) and they could fight.. Wala!! We was casted in this film! Lol

  104. Justina Delgado says:

    What a lame excuse. Given his reasoning there should have been even more diversity.

  105. John Jinx Ross says:

    Most Racist $hit ever…..And I wanted to see this flcik to!

  106. Matt Terrell says:

    so basically Tyler Perry can make all black movies along with other only black shit but white people have to make sure and include everyone..exactly why people don't like minorities..especially African Americans..damn hypocrits

  107. Steve Nelson says:

    Then do your own version if it matters that much

  108. Steve Nelson says:

    Thank you for that racist comment, Hitler.

  109. Steve Nelson says:

    Thank you for that racist comment, Hitler.

  110. Shaiva Horton says:

    U sound extremely ignorant. Isn't the truth u just did not want any niggers in the casting? Who gives a fuck about how big the boat was we want to see the story for what it truly is. The facts never will acknowledge our presence. Fuck you whitey

  111. Shaiva Horton says:

    Steve Nelson u can have your made up stories and your man made bible. We don't give a fuck about it. Okay. I especially don't u spend all types of money to try and erase black ppl from history. You faggot we made this world we are the true Gods not you motherfuckers keep lying to ourselves because that's all u can do to be relavent you piece of white trash

  112. Vince Cushite says:

    Personally, it's a European American film fantasy, design for the European American belief system. People do what they consider what's in their best interest, not in the right versus wrong concept. There are at least 5 flood stories/ myths that are mentioned long before noah in Africa, western Asia and the Americas. The film industry is owned by European Americans, movies and television, so it's designed for that consumption. It's not a evil act to have an all European American cast. Will I give my money for such a movie? No way in hell for a lot of reasons. It's not in my best interest.

  113. Linda Michelle says:

    Not that it would change anything, but I think that is, clearly, the most ignorant answer, and comes across as a 'brush off'. I would be less offended had he merely declined to answer. You have to lack even the most minute sense of history to think that during those times there were only 'white' people. The only thing I agree with here is that, the movie is mythical.

  114. LaVel Norman says:

    Steve Nelson THE TRUTH COULD NEVER BE TOLD

  115. John Holman says:

    I was saying the same thing, when something is a myth anybody can claim it.

  116. Young Ghana says:

    WHEN I WALK IN WALMART AND SEE THIS IMA THROW IT IN THE TRASH

  117. Freeman Freeman says:

    true!

  118. Push Nevahda This move helps our people .It shows them that this story in the middle of the east has nothing to do with them.We should learn our origins instead of riding other peoples origins

  119. I will not go to see a white man's view of Noah. There should be people representing all races. After all, we all know even Jesus was black and white people made him white for their own purposes,. Does anyone remember the Black Madonna?

  120. Sherice Isler says:

    Steve Nelson Get over yourself Steve. Hitler was a white man. You should know your history.

  121. Kandice C. Wilson says:

    White is NOT the default

  122. All I can think of is the way people try to use a bible story to attract people to come see a movie that is obviously a joke.

  123. I just hate the excuse he gave. I doubt he believed it as it was coming out of his mouth. A more honest answer would have been, "my privilege didn't allow me to even think of it as a problem."

  124. Goran Juric says:

    Rana Lee Berman. Movie-Joke based on the true story of the man who died at age 950!

  125. If race doesn't matter how would he feel if no black person supported the movie?

  126. Tonya Holder says:

    I call BS on that explanation

  127. During that period of history, I do believe most black-bodied people lived on another continent. What is the big hoopla over races being depicted. Get off the bodily platform, folks. It's a movie!

  128. It was smart to keep it one race…because it would of been a bigger problem if there were people of color or whites being destroyed in the water… smart move

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