'Noah' scriptwriter explains why he left God out

KUSA - More controversy over the big screen biblical epic "Noah." A Muslim lawyer in Istanbul has filed a complaint, demanding that a warning be displayed before its screening to clarify that the movie is not related to the prophet mentioned in the Quran.

Lawyer Yusuf Erikel reportedly stated in his petition that the movie is "against religious beliefs" and "offends the Prophet Noah."According to Erikel, the warning should state that the movie is completely the scriptwriter's fiction and that the character of Noah, as well as the incidents in the movie, has no relation to either Islam or the real prophet named in the Quran.

Much of the Muslim world, including the UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Malaysia and Indonesia, have banned the movie, finding it "un-Islamic" because of its visual depiction of the Prophet Noah.

Audiences of a wide range of faiths either hate, or love this movie. We talked to screenwriter Ari Handel about that, and about his decision not to use the word God in any of the scenes, swapping it out instead with the term "creator."

"We've got religious people praising the film very strongly and also being very upset by it. And we have secular audiences doing the same," he said. "It's really interesting how much debate and power has been stormed up by this film." Handel said he decided to use "creator" to make the film more universal, saying it still carries all the ramifications of God.

"Nothing we actually did directly contradicted the Genesis story. There are some places where people think we did, and I'd just say, "We didn't." It was all grounded somewhere. It wasn't just the Genesis story the way you expected it. But it's grounded. Anything we did that isn't explicitly there isn't arbitrary. There are themes in the Genesis story that we wanted to dramatize and make people empathize with. It's there for a reason. I hope people go into it open-minded. When they see things they don't expect, roll with it a little bit. And see how you feel about the film afterward," Handel explained.

"What we want the film to make you think about is the core question of Genesis: The nature of goodness and wickedness in men's heart, and whether that should be responded to with justice or mercy, the relationship between mankind and the world around him to the sacred. Those are the questions we grappled with."

(KUSA-TV © 2014 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)


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