The Animals of The Ark
While the Ark was palpably real, the animals that enter it as their refuge
are a mix of digital wizardry and sculpted replicas - all to give audiences a
sense of the breath-taking sight of thousands of animals coming aboard. "When
you work with live animals you're limited to the type you can have, and it's a
tremendous responsibility to care for them," Aronofsky explains. "I also didn't
want the Ark to look like a modern zoo. Creating the animals digitally gave us a
larger freedom to show the tremendous diversity of the entire animal kingdom."
The crafting of the animals began with the work of Academy Award nominated
special effects make-up artist Adrien Morot, who filled the stage with life-like
replications of reptiles, mammals and birds, which were later given movement and
breath through CGI. "Adrien did a phenomenal job creating these animals," says
Mary Parent. "They looked like they could spring to life at any moment."
Jennifer Connelly was also moved when she saw the animals on the newly
constructed Ark. "It was as impressive as any Natural History Museum I have ever
seen," she muses.
Meanwhile, special effects supervisor Ben Snow, of Industrial Light & Magic
("Iron Man," "King Kong"), led a team that spent months meshing artistry with
computing power to forge the menagerie. Snow's team worked with Aronofsky to
present a range of species, including some that are now extinct. "Creating every
animal, and some unique creatures that existed in the times before the flood,
really required us to lift our game," says Snow.
Once the animals board the Ark, they are sent into a long snooze by a special
herb to keep them safe through the long journey. "The problems that could
manifest from all these animals in one space are huge," notes Ari Handel. "But a
lot of people have thought about this over the years, and there's a tradition in
some commentary that the animals were placed in a kind of stupor to prevent the
lions from eating the lambs. We took that further so that when they come onto
the Ark they fall into a slumber, resting until the time when they can
repopulate a New World."
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