Darren Aronofsky's Biblical epic "Noah" hasn't even opened in theaters yet, but it's already been banned by multiple countries in the Middle East.
In the Islamic tradition, the portrayal of prophets is forbidden, and Russell Crowe's performance as the prophet Noah has raised the ire of censorship boards in Bahrain, Qatar, and the UAE, who have informed Paramount that they will not allow the film to be released, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Paramount insiders expect similar rulings in Kuwait, Jordan, and Egypt.
The important Islamic institution Al-Azhar issued a statement on Thursday against films that portray Biblical figures, calling them “contrary to faith and to the fundamentals of the Islamic Sharia," reports Haaretz.
Religious groups in the United States have also expressed concern about the film and its faithfulness to the Biblical account. Paramount agreed last week to adjust its marketing for "Noah" to make it clear that it is a creative rather than literal adaption of the Biblical story.