This image released by Paramount Pictures shows Jennifer Connelly, left, and Russell Crowe in a scene from "Noah." (AP Photo/Paramount Pictures, Niko Tavernise)
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Director Darren Aronofsky, best known for dark and unrelenting dramas such as the Oscar-nominated "Black Swan," would have it no other way in the biblical epic "Noah," which stars Russell Crowe and is set to be released in U.S. and Canadian theaters, as well as several other countries, on Friday.The film also stars Jennifer Connolly as Noah's wife, Naameh, Anthony Hopkins as Noah's grandfather, Methuselah, and Emma Watson as Ila, the wife of Noah's eldest son, Shem, who is portrayed by Douglas Booth.The decision to include the fallen angels, called the "Watchers" in the film, is one of the reasons why "Noah" will be challenging, even for religious audiences, said Rebecca Cusey, an editor of the religious website Patheos.com and film critic.The film is tracking to gross a respectable $41 million in its opening weekend domestically, according to Boxoffice.com.The film also represents a string of bets Hollywood has made on Bible stories.
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