Church Conference Gets First Look at Russell Crowe as 'Noah'

[caption id="attachment_27664" align="alignleft" width="220"]Darren Aronofsky Getty Images[/caption]

Much like how the studios push their superhero movies at San Diego Comic-Con, Darren Aronofsky gave a church conference the first look at his Old Testament tale, "Noah."

The "Black Swan" filmmaker cast Russell Crowe as the title character in "Noah," due in theaters next year. Just as Mel Gibson took "The Passion of the Christ" to the core Christian audience nearly a decade ago (with many studios following suit when marketing faith-based films), Aronofsky and Paramount chose the Echo Conference in Dallas, Texas to unveil the first look at "Noah," according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Echo is billed as "a church conference for artists, geeks, and storytellers" that explores "creativity in leadership, visuals, communications/branding, tech, and worship." Speakers at this year's event (which wrapped up Friday, July 26) included pastors, a Google employee, musicians and authors like Donald Miller, whose "Blue Like Jazz" was adapted into a 2012 movie starring Marshall Allman ("True Blood") and Claire Holt ("The Vampire Diaries").

During a video introduction shown on Thursday, the director promised an adherence to the Biblical story of Noah and The Great Flood. "It's been a long time since Bible movies were on the screen," he said. "There's been a lot of advancements in technology and special effects, and maybe that's the reason why Noah's never been attempted on the big screen before because of the size and scale of the deluge and all the different animals."

In middle school, Aronofsky won a contest with a poem he wrote about the Abrahamic prophet, resulting in the seventh grader reading the poem at the United Nations.

In addition to Crowe, "Noah" also stars Emma Watson (as Ila), Logan Lerman (Ham), Jennifer Connelly (Naameh) and Anthony Hopkins (Methuselah).

As The Hollywood Reporter noted, conference attendees had positive things to say about what they saw via Twitter.