Russell Crowe

Russell Crowe in "Noah." (Niko Tavernise / Paramount Pictures)

The drama around Darren Aronofsky’s "Noah" was already pretty thick, what with a hurricane tearing through its set a year ago and studio and director reportedly arguing over the cut ahead of the March release.

Into that mix Tuesday came a leaked (double entendre intended) trailer. (It was here, but may well be gone by the time you read this.)

The material shows a bearded Russell Crowe warning civilization about a diluvian future, the construction of the ark to protect from said future and the ensuing flood and revival. (Analyzing the footage more deeply is fruitless and even a little unfair; it clearly was not meant to be consumed this way.)

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A leaked — or “leaked” — trailer can, of course, be less of an accident than it seems, a studio wanting the word to get out without it seeming like it wants to get the word out. (See under:  "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” which leaked a spot a few years ago.)

That doesn’t seem to be the case here, not given the quality of the footage. Some leaked trailers look a little shaky. This footage seems to have been taken on an iPhone by a USC frat brother after too many late-night Cuervo shots.

Still, the effect may be to give Paramount and Aronofsky a little breathing room. There is some cohesion to the trailer, which could quiet all that talk about the movie being in trouble. If nothing else, it offers some distraction from that talk.

Then again, it may not be about us at all. When a studio and a director are fighting over a cut, parties can resort to some pretty drastic measures. Jerry Bruckheimer once locked out his director for weeks. One side in this debate could well want material out to gather reaction and bolster its case. It may not be the traditional way to get footage out, but that doesn't mean someone involved with the film doesn't stand to benefit just the same.

ALSO:

Darren Aronofsky’s ‘Noah: Can’t auteurs and studios just get along?

With new trailer, ‘Girl With the Dragon Tattoo’ begins to breathe its fire

Hurricane Sandy headed toward Noah’s Ark

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