We've known for months now that Darren Aronofsky was hoping to make the expensive Biblical retelling Noah his next directorial effort - since he passed on helming The Wolverine, earlier this year - and it looks like the project is finally (officially) ready to continue moving forward.
Paramount and New Regency have finalized a deal that will see them co-finance Aronofsky's Noah: a cinematic version of the Noah's Ark story that (according to earlier estimates) is being budgeted as a $130 million venture.
Deadline confirmed the deal, which has been expected to (eventually) go through since late June 2011. Longtime Aronofsky collaborator Scott Franklin - who even produced the filmmaker's ultra low-budget directorial debut, Pi - will co-produce Noah with the Black Swan helmer.
Multiple Oscar-nominated scriber John Logan (Gladiator, The Last Samurai) has been hired on to rework the previous draft of the Noah script penned by Aronofsky and Ari Handel (The Fountain). The latter writing duo's screenplay was presumably the basis for the upcoming Noah comic book, which Aronofsky worked on with illustrator Nico Henrichon.
Aronofsky has previously described Noah as being a more loyal adaptation of the original Biblical story - which, as the filmmaker has rightly pointed out, is often graphic in nature and contains a good deal of adults-only material that has not been included in many a previous re-interpretation. However, the filmmaker is reportedly designing the Noah movie as more of a true "epic" - and not an intimate character drama that seeks to explore the depths of a man commanded by God to preserve the Earth's non-human animals during an apocalyptic flood.
Here is what Aronofsky told IFC about Noah, this past summer:
"I don't think [the tale of Noah is] a very religious story. I think it's a great fable that's part of so many different religions and spiritual practices. I just think it's a great story that's never been on film... I want to make a big [Roland Emmerich-style] event film, and I think ['Noah'] can be that."
Those who cringe at the mere mention of Emmerich's name ought to bear in mind that Aronofsky was simply likening the scale of Noah to one of the 2012 filmmaker's projects. The amount of attention paid to decent storytelling and character development in Aronofsky's Biblical adaptation - that's another matter...
While it's known that Christian Bale has been eying Noah (among other projects) as the potential followup to The Dark Knight Rises, his involvement is far from a given. Paramount and New Regency are hoping to start production on Noah by Spring 2012, possibly with a Summer 2013 release date in mind - assuming the project really is being fashioned as more an effects-heavy "event" film. So there's still plenty of time for Bale (or another respectable actor) to sign on for the flick.
We will continue to keep you posted on the status of Noah, in the meantime.