For a while there it seemed as though Russell Crowe could be starring in... well, everything.
The Oscar-winning actor (and professional musician) has recently been linked to the RoboCop reboot, Darren Aronofsky's Noah retelling, and Oscar-winner Akiva Goldsman's Winter's Tale adaptation. All that was on top of his already set-in-stone upcoming film slate, which includes roles in RZA's The Man with the Iron Fists, Allen Hughes' Broken City, Tom Hooper's Les Misérables musical adaptation, AND a part as Superman's biological father in Zack Snyder's Man of Steel.
While the RoboCop rumor was quickly denied by Crowe, it has now been confirmed that the actor is indeed in negotiations to portray the namesake of Noah. The $130 million Biblical blockbuster drama will be based on the graphic novel created by Aronofsky and Ari Handel (The Fountain) that originated as a screenplay written by the duo. Oscar-nominee John Logan (The Aviator, Hugo) has since reworked Aronofsky and Handel's early script draft for the film version of Noah.
Variety describes Aronofsky's take on the Noah character as "a man who loves Earth and all of its animal inhabitants but has become disillusioned with the way humans have treated their planet." That's in keeping with the filmmaker's own previous statements about how he interprets the prophet as being the "first environmentalist". Not to mention how Aronofsky's re-imagining of the Biblical story heavily emphasizes the "environmental apocalypse" theme that resonates throughout the original tale (as found in the Book of Genesis).
Liam Neeson was previously reported as a contender to play the "villain" in Noah (ie. one of Noah's peers who doubts that he is acting on God's orders), but there's no mention of the fan-favorite actor in Variety's report. Here's to hoping the Taken star remains a possibility for the film, as the prospect of Aronofsky directing two stellar leads like Neeson and Crowe - while also working with a fair amount of creative control and a large budget - suggests that Noah could be a piece of cinema that's truly deserves the label "epic."
Noah is tentatively slated to begin principal photography by July 2012, with a Fall 2013 theatrical release date in mind.
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