- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 27, 2014

“Noah” star Russell Crowe harshly rebuked critics Thursday for judging the film sight unseen — especially those in the Christian community railing against the atheist roots of both the director and storyline.

“We’ve had probably over a year now of very harsh criticism from a bunch of people who have put their name and stamp on an opinion that’s not even based on the movie or seeing the movie,” he said during an appearance on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

Mr. Crowe said much of the controversy stems from assumptions about the film “of what it could be or how bad it could be or how wrong it could be in their eyes, which I think, quite frankly, is bordering on absolute stupidity. Because now, people are seeing the movie and they’re realizing how respectful it is and how potent it is.”

The director, Darren Aronofsky, a self-professed atheist, made waves by touting his rendition of “Noah” as the “least biblical biblical film ever made.” The movie, which opens Friday, was reported by one early reviewer to have no mention of God, according to the Telegraph.

Mr. Aronofsky’s description of Noah as the “first environmentalist” also didn’t sit well with Jerry Johnson, president of the National Religious Broadcasters, who called the film’s “insertion of the extremist environmental agenda” a major concern, the Telegraph reported.

Paramount rushed to quell the criticism, issuing a statement that “artistic license has been taken” but the film is nonetheless “inspired” by the Genesis account of Noah.

SEE ALSO: Atheist ‘Noah’ director brags film is least biblical Bible movie ever

Mr. Crowe told the Guardian that moviegoers will come from theater wanting to discuss “our stewardship of the earth, our relationship to animals, what is spirituality, who am I in this world — all these fantastic subjects for conversation. Art that can do that for people is a wonderful thing.”

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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