"Noah's" Supporting Cast
Joining the cast of "Noah" is a mix of award-winning veterans and rising
young stars who bring further touches of emotion and humanity to the compelling
spectacle. In the role of Methuselah -mentioned in just one biblical passage in
the lineage linking Adam to Noah and as the longest-lived man of his time - the
filmmakers cast Oscar-winner Anthony Hopkins.
"We saw Methuselah as a mentor figure for Noah - so we needed someone wise
and trustworthy but also with a bit of twinkle and mischievousness to him," says
Handel, "but he's more than that. There is a Jewish legend that Methuselah had a
sword engraved with the many names of God with which he slew 10,000 demons - we
wanted our Methuselah to have that kind of power."
Adds Aronofsky: "Casting someone to play Methuselah is nearly impossible,
because you have to find someone who can play the oldest man in the world in an
interesting way. So when Tony Hopkins came along it was incredibly exciting for
all of us. He was able to ground the character because he is such a tremendous
Taking the role of Tubal-cain, Noah's nemesis and a descendant of the
infamous Cain who slew Abel, is Ray Winstone, the English actor known for his
roles in Martin Scorsese's "The Departed" and "Hugo." Although he is mentioned
in the Book of Genesis, Tubal-cain is not included as part of the story of Noah
- but Aronofsky and Handel brought him into the screenplay for a very specific
reason. "Here's a guy who is a descendant of Cain, the first murderer, and who
himself is defined as forger of weapons in the Bible," explains Handel. "He
seemed like the right person to serve as the leader of the descendants of Cain,
representing the wickedness and corruption of man."
Winstone was a leading choice from the start. "We had to hire someone who you
believe could kick Russell Crowe's butt," muses Aronofsky. "And he's a big,
tough guy who really sizes up to Russell. They have a great stand-off and
In his approach, Winstone perceived Tubal-cain as a flawed but savvy man
determined to survive at any cost. "I kind of saw Tubal-cain not as the bad guy,
but as very human," Winstone says. "He has his own very strong point of view."
Winstone continues: "I think that he's tormented because the Creator doesn't
speak to him; he's like a child that's been shunned. There's a lot of envy going
on between him Noah and there's a sadness. I think he's a man who from a young
age has been a warrior fighting for land, fighting for minerals, fighting for
meat, and he has come to a point where he is wondering, 'what have I done with
Mary Parent was impressed with Winstone's complexity. "Tubal-cain is very
much the manifestation of all that has caused God to question where man is
headed. There's an incredible moment in the movie where he even begins to
compare himself to God, and takes it to the level of hubris. Yet, at the same
time, Ray brings a vulnerability, so you feel for Tubal-cain - and you see that
from his perspective, what he's doing makes sense. While Noah respects all of
Creation, Tubal-cain sees everything as for the taking."
Noah's sons - Shem, Ham and Japheth, who will replenish a new generation of
the world - are played by three rapidly rising actors. Logan Lerman, who has
received acclaim in "Percy Jackson: The Lightning Thief" and "The Perks of Being
a Wallflower," plays Ham; British heartthrob Douglas Booth, who won accolades as
Pip in the BBC series "Great Expectations" portrays Shem; and playing Japheth is
new discovery Leo Carroll.
While the Bible doesn't give the exact age of Noah's sons, it's believed that
they were somewhere in their low 100s. "In an era when men live 900 years, how
old should a 100 year old look? Or a 500 year old? Noah had kids at 500, built
the Ark at 600, died at 950," Aronofsky explains. "So in our story, when Noah is
building the Ark should he look like you or I would look if we somehow lived to
500, or should he look like a man who's lived 5/9thths of his life - in other
words a middle aged man? And Noah's kids who are about 1/10 of their natural
life-span - what should they look like? What matters is that they are relatively
young compared to their father, still learning their own sense of manhood from
their patriarch. We wanted people to feel that."
While the prospect of being the only human survivors of the deluge is
difficult for Noah and Naameh, it is especially hard for their middle son, Ham,
to accept. "That's a difficult thing to accept at any age - that you're going to
be among a handful of people to survive humanity's destruction," says Russell
Crowe. "But when you're talking about young men in the prime of their lives, who
feel they won't ever experience even what their parents have experienced, you're
going to have moments of rebellion."
Ham does have his moments of rebellion, but Lerman views his character as
motivated by hope. "Technically, he's the wicked child, because he questions
what his father says," says Lerman. "But I think he's also just a kid looking
for someone to love."
To find Noah's youngest son, 10 year-old Japheth, the filmmakers launched
nationwide auditions. Ultimately, these led to the discovery of Leo Carroll in
Chicago. "There are not many young actors you can find who could fit into this
family with Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connelly," Scott Franklin muses. "But Leo
has a natural ability and some serious acting chops. He wowed Russell the first
time they were on camera together."
Booth describes Shem as seemingly the most dutiful of Noah's sons. "Shem
really is his father's son throughout the movie, until one pivotal moment," the
But even for Shem, the future his father is taking them into is terrifying,
and Booth tried to imagine what it would be like to truly be in that position.
"Imagine if you knew you were going to be the last family on the planet and
everyone else is going to die," he says. "It's such a huge thing and I love how
Darren captures that in such a personal way."
Ari Handel explains further: "The Bible says that Noah, his sons, and his
sons' wives went onto the ark. And that is exactly what happens in the film,
although it happens in a way that is surprising and unexpected. By the end of
the film, it is clear that there are 3 sons and 3 wives and all of them were on
the ark. But we used the way those wives came on, and the uncertainty about
that, as a means to help dramatize the questions of whether mankind is good or
wicked, deserves justice or mercy, should be wiped out or should be spared - the
questions we felt were at the heart of the Noah story."
Also joining Noah's family is Ila, an orphan Noah adopts after finding her
left for dead in a refugee camp, creating a unique bond between them as she
grows into a woman. Taking the part in another departure is Emma Watson, best
known as Hermione Granger in the popular "Harry Potter" film series, who has
grown to more mature roles in "My Week with Marilyn" and "The Perks of Being a
"For Ila, we were looking for someone who has that innocence of a girl, but
also could surprise us with the strength of an adult. Emma really brought that,"
"Ila is a catalyst in the story," adds Parent. "As she grows up, there's a
love story with Shem, but the impact she has on Noah, and his faith in
particular, is very emotional."
Watson says the role had her delving into areas of experience that were new
for her. "I thought a lot about what it means for a woman to be able to have a
family, and I thought a lot about the life that made Ila the person she is -
living in poverty and seeing some very dark things. I think that makes Ila feel
very close to Noah who saves her and brings her into his family, fueling her
desire to have a family of her own. There's a sense in the movie of generations,
of family, of things passed down, which is very interesting."
For Watson, Aronofsky's approach to Noah was surprising but also moving. She
summarizes: "I think when most people think of Noah's story they just think of
the animals walking two-by-two. But the story we tell is as much about what this
family experiences -- the interpersonal relationships between Noah, his wife and
their children. So even though it's an amazing epic with incredible scale, it is
also intimate and subtle."
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