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Darren Aronofsky’s ‘Noah’ Greenlit With July Start Date, Russell Crowe Locked In To Star

Darren Aronofsky's 'Noah' Greenlit With July Start Date, Russell Crowe Locked In To Star

It’s easy to forget that Darren Aronofsky has never made a film with a truly significant budget. He’s come close a few times — he’s been attached to comic-book-type properties like “Batman: Year One,” “Ronin,” “Robocop” and “The Wolverine,” and was in pre-production on an early version of “The Fountain,” with Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett, that would have costed about $70 million, but ended up making the film for half that. Everything else, even his megahit “Black Swan,” cost under $15 million.

But that’s all about to change. He’s used his success with the Natalie Portman ballet drama to set up his dream project, Biblical tale “Noah,” and according to Deadline, it’s formally been given the go-ahead by backers New Regency and Paramount, with shooting to get underway in July. The budget here is rumored to be in the region of $130 million.

And in case you were worried, it also has a star: after early discussions with dudes like Christian Bale and Michael Fassbender, Russell Crowe has officially signed on to play the Old Testament boat builder and animal-pairer. As we discussed yesterday, Crowe is taking bolder, more interesting roles of late, but this is certainly the biggest of them all, and the idea of him working with Aronofsky is an immensely exciting one.

Aronofsky penned the initial draft with frequent collaborator Ari Mandel, before the ludicrously in-demand John Logan (“Gladiator,” “Hugo,” “Skyfall“) came on to rework the script. As yet, there’s no further word on casting, although Liam Neeson came up in regards to another role, possibly a villain of some kind.  The film hasn’t been scheduled yet, but a fall 2013 release has been rumored as an early target date.

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