Apr 3, 2014
01:40 PM
Arts & Entertainment

NOAH Movie #1 in World; No Surprise With Connecticut Man Behind Camera

NOAH Movie #1 in World; No Surprise With Connecticut Man Behind Camera

Stephen Consentino says that shooting the new film Noah was an intense experience of . . . well . . . biblical proportions.

“The story is about a cataclysmic event and we tried to portray that and be realistic to that, so it made it that much more of a challenge for all of us,” says Consentino, of Ridgefield, who served as the A-camera operator and steadicam operator for the production.

The film is directed by Darren Aronofsky and stars Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly and Emma Watson. To re-create the epic flood at the center of the story the filmmakers used six giant rain towers outfitted with cranes, water hoses and mammoth sprinkler systems. The towers were capable of raining down on the cast and crew with the fury of a vengeful God.

“It was the biggest rain-making setup that I’ve ever seen and I think it might have been the biggest one anybody has undertaken,” Consentino says. “That’s the kind of realism that Darren likes to bring to his movies. It would have been very easy to put digital rain on everything and just wet down the actors a little bit, but when you’re sitting underneath real rain towers that make 6,000 gallons of water come down on you every minute you start to understand what it might have been like to actually have lived through an event like that.”
 

Consentino on location in Iceland filming "Noah" with Russell Crowe.


Consentino, who is in his 40s, is a veteran of the film industry, credited on more than 40 films including Inside Man, Lord of War, Elf and Black Swan, which was also directed by Aronofsky. Noah was the most difficult shoot of his 20-plus-year career, he says. The beginning of the film was shot in remote areas of Iceland, the main rain scenes were shot on Long Island, and most of the rest was shot on a soundstage in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Despite the difficulty, Consentino says Aronofsky kept everyone motivated. “Darren’s a guy who really makes you want to dedicate yourself to the project,” he says. The film’s star, Crowe, was also a pleasure to work with, he says; while the production was in Iceland he hosted the cast and crew for several dinners. In addition, Crowe sings and plays guitar and would often perform during breaks in filming. “I have a lot of respect for him as an actor and I gained a lot of respect for him as a person,” Consentino says.

Consentino has filmmaking in his blood. His parents Joseph and Sandra Consentino, also in Ridgefield, are award-winning documentary filmmakers who have made films for TNT and the History Channel. At first Consentino didn’t plan on carrying on the family business. In college at Princeton University, he studied economics and electrical engineering. After he graduated, however, he realized a regular 9-to-5 job was not for him and fell in love with filmmaking. In particular, he was drawn to the steadicam—a type of camera-stabilizing platform that is worn by an operator and allows for a smooth steady shot without a dolly.

Consentino lives with his wife, Lynn, and their two children, Alexander and Isabella. He is currently shooting a new pilot for HBO called “Blanco.” As much as he loves making movies for a living, he says people don’t realize just how much hard work goes into the job.

“The film business seems glamorous and it is, in a way,” he says. “Who else flies you to Iceland and takes you all over the world? You get to hike up to the top of mountains; you’re helicoptered into these lush green valleys to film. But at the same time, most of those days in Iceland we would wake up at 5 a.m., and drive an hour-and-a-half to two hours to the location, film for 14 to 16 hours and drive two hours back. So at the end of an 18- or 20-hour day, you get 10 hours of rest and you turn around and do it again the next day. That’s tiring.”      

 

NOAH Movie #1 in World; No Surprise With Connecticut Man Behind Camera

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