‘Noah’ Sets Sail From Long Island, New York

by Jeremy Zweig, Viacom


For centuries, scholars have argued about the size of Noah’s ark, how it was constructed and exactly where all those animals came from.  While the Viacom Blog can’t put those arguments to bed, we can tell you about Noah’s ark, and the massive effort by thousands of New Yorkers to bring this amazing story to life for director Darren Aronofsky.

Production designer Mark Friedberg started his research a year before production even began, in an effort to perfect the ark.  He explained, “Darren and I felt the craft of this Ark would be very rough, rugged and handmade, and that the wood would not be sawed but snapped, and broken, and attached with straps.”

Simply finding the right materials was a challenge.  In the Bible, Noah is instructed to use gopher wood, a mysterious genus unknown to modern man.  “We couldn’t quite find that here on Long Island,” Friedberg laughs.  “But what we most wanted was for this Ark to be seemingly made of the forest that it was built within.  So we used a steel frame, wood flooring and then created the big timbers for the ark carved from foam.”

Once the designs were completed, construction began in the Planting Fields Arboretum State Park in Oyster Bay, Long Island.  In a grassy field normally used for event parking, the team erected the Ark over five months.  Friedberg’s crew of hundreds built 170 feet, or about a third of the Ark, while the rest was completed by the visual effects team in post-production.   Meanwhile, a second Ark was constructed inside Brooklyn’s Marcy Armory – once a storehouse for National Guard munitions – for interior scenes.

During the production, Paramount worked closely with businesses throughout the area, creating 2,000 jobs in New York and spending more than $60 million in the community . . . including plenty on lumber.  The MPAA has more on the scale of Noah’s investment in New York here.

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