John Snowden, Noah’s official biblical advisor, has some similarities to the film’s main character. He had to step out of his comfort zone (he was a former youth pastor), take on a project that was well beyond the scope of what he was used to (one giant Hollywood film), and trust that God wouldn’t let him drown in the process. It took courage and conviction, likely a good deal of humility and soul searching, and – based on answers that poured out as strong and rapid as God’s Old Testament rainclouds – a strong dose of intellect.
Believe.com is happy to report that Snowden survived the flood of work he was presented with. We forgot to ask him if he saw giant rainbows and doves on the last day of the shoot, but he was amicable enough with us, so we’ll take that as a good sign.
Here are a few facts about himself and the film that Believe received from the jovial and centered Snowden. Taking our phone call all the way from Nepal, Snowden was generous with his personal perceptions of the production process and end result, but always steered the conversation back to God Himself.
Snowden’s Role in the Film
Snowden’s initial involvement in the film came through the Vice Chairman of Paramount, Rob Moore, who he met through his church community. From the initial script reads, dailies and even the art, Snowden consulted on the project through a biblical and scriptural lens.
For example, in talking about the “sin factor” of the movie, he often quoted from Genesis:
Yahweh was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him in his heart. Yahweh said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the surface of the ground; man, along with animals, creeping things, and birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them. But Noah found favor in Yahweh’s eyes. This is the history of the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time. Noah walked with God. —Genesis 6:6-9
The Artistic Presentation of Noah
While Snowden attests to the fact that some liberties were taken to tell the Noah story in an engaging, accessible way, nothing was done that deflected from the original Scriptural text.
“Some of the details are different,” he notes, referring specifically to Noah’s sons. “The Bible refers to Shem and Ham as being almost 100 years old. Noah is 600 years old. While that was not possible to recreate exactly, the movie did an excellent job showing the heart of the father/son relationship with the father holding the family together.”
He goes on to add, “It’s important to remember, too, that in the Bible the story of Noah is told through the mouthpiece of a third person narrator.” Snowden continues pragmatically, “It’s vital to tell the story with the characters talking to each other.” In other words, the creative team had to make choices to deliver the main message of the movie in way that was both compelling but Biblically accurate. This was no easy feat, but then again, the story of Noah isn’t exactly one of ease and comfort.
Noah Struggles – Something Everyone Can Relate To
One of the main points Snowden loves about the movie is how it shows Noah struggling. Noah was not perfect. He went through a lot of doubt. But in the end, Noah trusted God. Relating this back to himself, Snowden remarked, “I treasure the moments God speaks to me, but there are times when God speaks to me more than others. I have to ask myself, ‘Am I ready to trust?’”
Can You Trust God with Your Personal Storms?
The bigger question for movie goers to consider is this: Once you trust God, what will you do about it? Snowden’s response was a considerate one: “This movie will allow people to walk out with wonder and allow God to use conversation with people to ask questions.”
In simple terms, a film can’t evangelize, but it can make people think.
Noah hits theatres with a splash on Friday, March 28. Check out the OFFICIAL TRAILER here.
Look for more of Andrea’s writing at her blog, Fundamentally Imperfect, which publishes Monday, Wednesday and Friday in the Parenting Section of Believe.com. (It’s located on the right sidebar.)