Director Darren Aronofsky has been honored by officials at the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) for choosing not to use real animals for his new religious epic "Noah."
The movie, starring Russell Crowe as the Biblical hero, instead features computer-generated imagery (CGI) to recreate the pairs of creatures on Noah's Ark, and his decision not to use animal actors has won him high praise from HSUS activists, who have named him the recipient of their inaugural Humane Filmmaker Award. The organisation's bosses have also teamed up with Aronofsky and studio chiefs at Paramount Pictures to officially offer its support for the film. HSUS representative Michelle Cho says, "We are thrilled to lend our support to Paramount and applaud Mr. Aronofsky. He made the compassionate decision to recreate one of the most celebrated stories in history without harming animals. "We hope more filmmakers will follow the trend of opting for humane alternatives to exotic animal actors such as CGI and animatronics." The backing of the animal rights activists will be warmly welcomed by film bosses as the movie has faced some opposition from religious leaders over the depiction of Noah onscreen and the picture has been banned from cinemas in a number of Muslim countries throughout the Middle East, where portrayals of prophets are banned by Islamic law.