Darren Aronofsky wanted to replicate the Bible's version of Noah's Ark for 'Noah', according to visual effects supervisor Ben Snow.

The 45-year-old director first became interested in the story when he penned a poem based on the tale for a writing contest and won an award to read it in front of the United Nations, and when it came to making the film he wanted it to be as similar to the original as possible.

Snow said: ''Darren wanted to avoid clichés. No elephants or things that you get in children's play sets. He sent us a reference book that had [drawings of] animals from Victorian times, when they'd heard about platypuses and dodos but hadn't seen them, so they're imagining what they'd look like.''

The 'Black Swan' director also wanted to ensure that the movie - which stars Russell Crowe, Emma Watson and Anthony Hopkins - was more humanistic than children's versions.

Snow told the New York Post newspaper: ''One of the things that Darren wanted to do was anchor it in reality, give it a grittiness. That's only achieved by going out there and filming on location.''

Darren is also said to have kept the design of the ark simple in order to maintain a sense of realism, and Ben claims it ended up looking like a ''large coffin''.

He added: ''One of the things we discussed early on is that the ark isn't a cruise ship. It's a life raft.''

'Noah' is set to be released in the United States later this week and in the United Kingdom next month.