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When Darren Aronofsky, director of "Black Swan" (2010) and "The Wrestler" (2008), decided to take on the epic biblical story of "Noah" (2014), Ari Handel was his go-to screenwriter. They had known each other since college, when they were roommates at Harvard, and they were originally going to take much different paths in life before they ended up working on movies together. Handel was born in Zurich, Switzerland, but grew up in Newton, Massachusetts. He met Aronofsky when they were living together at Dunster House on the Harvard campus. Handel eventually earned a PhD in neurobiology from NYU, and interned for the science show "Nova" (PBS 1974- ), but he eventually realized that by working with Aronofsky, they could combine their education and talents together, and communicate their ideas on a much bigger level. Aronofsky and Handel first worked together on "The Fountain" (2006) while Handel was earning his PhD, and they also collaborated on "The Wrestler" (2008). In the case of "Noah" (2014), Aronofsky and Handel began working together on the screenplay in 2003, and deeply researched the Book of Genesis while preparing the film. Like many modern religious films, "Noah" came with its share of controversy, but it was able to cross over to non-religious audiences and become a box office hit. Aronofsky had certainly made controversial movies before, but he and Handel approached the story so that believers and non-believers alike could see it as a universal tale about the fundamentals of good and evil. In the age of global warming, "Noah" was also looked at as an environmental story, which caused controversy in certain religious and political circles upon the film's release.
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