Paramount’s official synopsis for Darren Aronofsky‘s Noah is pretty vague, referring to it as “a close adaptation” and giving only the barest outline of the classic Biblical tale. But if you’re really curious about what approach Aronofsky plans to take, it’s not hard to dig up some pretty potent clues. A few lucky folks have already gotten a glimpse at the actual script, and for a more visual reference we can turn to Aronofsky’s own comic books based on that script.

Not surprisingly, Aronofsky’s version is a far cry from the simple religious tale you may vaguely recall from Sunday school. For starters, his Noah is a Mad Max-style warrior dealing with “eleven-foot-tall fallen angels with six arms and no wings.” Really. More details after the jump. More details after the jump.

Movies.com’s Peter S. Hall has compiled some interesting info on what the books have to offer, and therefore what Aronofsky’s Noah will probably look like. If you’ve read the comics, co-created by Aronofsky, producer Ari Handel, and artist Nico Henrichon, this part won’t be new to you. But I’d wager that most Aronofsky fans (and /Film readers) haven’t, and for the rest of us it’s an intriguing peek at the movie to come.

Here’s the book description they dug up, from French publisher Le Lombard:

His name is Noah. Far from the stereotype of the patriarch that one appends the character of the Bible, he looked like a warrior.  He looks like a Mad Max out of the depths of time. In the world of Noah, pity has no place. He lives with his wife and three children in a land barren and hostile, in the grip of severe drought. A world marked by violence and barbarism, delivered to the savagery of the clans that draw their reason to survive from war and cruelty.

But Noah is like no other. This is a fighter and also a healer. He is subject to visions which announce the imminent end of the earth, swallowed by the waves of an endless deluge. Noah must notify his followers. If man is to survive, he must end the suffering inflicted on the planet and “treat the world with mercy”. However, no one is listening.

The tyrant Akkad, who Noah went to visit in the city of Bal-llim, chased him and sentenced him to flee. After consulting with his grandfather Methuselah, Noah decided to rally to his cause the terrible Giants and accomplish the task entrusted to him by the Creator…

Noah is such a familiar story that it’s easy to forget how disturbing the premise really is — it is, after all, about a flood that wipes out nearly all life in Noah’s world. But it sounds like Aronofsky finds a way to bring back the visceral horror of the tale.

That’s the feeling HitFix’s Drew McWeeny gets as well, after reading the script:

I don’t care how many Bible stories or translations you’ve read, and I don’t care how many films based on those stories you’ve seen. You have never seen anything like what Darren Aronofsky has planned for “Noah.”

Sure, the basic broad strokes of the story are pretty evident. Noah (Russell Crowe) hears the voice of God warning him that the world cannot be allowed to survive in the corrupted, ruined form Noah sees around him. It is a violent, freaky, scary world that Aronofsky and his co-writer Ari Handel have created. I’m particularly excited to see how Aronofsky brings to life the Watchers, eleven-foot-tall fallen angels with six arms and no wings. They have a major presence in the script, and they’re fascinating. Early on, when Noah needs to go see his grandfather, he has to move through the homeland of the Watchers, something that is not easy to do.

[...]

There is a sincerity from the very first page that will make it hard for people to argue with Aronofsky’s intent here. He’s written this as a serious look at our place on this planet and our rights as citizens of the world. I think it would be hard to pin this version of the story down to any one faith, and in shaking off the dusty respectability of the accepted version of the story, Aronofsky and Handler may have actually found a way to give it a stronger thematic resonance than I would have imagined.

Interestingly, while the angels may seem like Aronofsky’s most bizarre addition to the tale, they are in fact referred to in the Bible. Genesis 6 mentions Nephilim, giant offspring of the “sons of God” and the “daughters of men.” The part about them having six arms may be Aronofsky’s idea, though — I’m not sure. Check out the comic book renderings of them below, via Movies.com:

Also click here for images from the first volume.

Starring Russell Crowe, Anthony Hopkins, Jennifer Connelly, Ray Winstone, and more, Noah sails into theaters March 28, 2014.

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