(Photo: REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni)
Months of rumors have now been confirmed: Russell Crowe will take on the lead role in an upcoming film based on the epic biblical story of Noah and his ark.
Darren Aronofsky, director of "Black Swan" who will also direct "Noah," seemed overjoyed to have the Academy Award-winner as the lead actor in his upcoming project, which is being co-financed by Paramount and New Regency.
"I'd like to thank Paramount and Regency for backing my team's work to breathe new life into the biblical epic," said Aronofsky in a statement. "I rejoice that Russell Crowe will be by my side on this adventure. It's his immense talent that helps me to sleep at night. I look forward to being wowed by him every day."
Rumors of Crowe's involvement with the film came after it was discovered that actor Christian Bale ("The Dark Night"), who was originally scouted for the role of Noah, was unable to work on the project because of his involvement with two other films this year. Michael Fassbender ("X-Men: First Class") was considered for the role as well, but likewise had a scheduling conflict.
The biblical story of Noah and his ark is found in the book of Genesis. It begins when God sees how wicked the human race has become, and decides to destroy the majority of Earth's living creatures as a result. God commands Noah, who was "a righteous man," to build an ark on which he, his family and two of each kind of animal can escape the impending flood that He will unleash on the Earth.
A press release from Paramount Pictures claims that the film, which will begin production in Iceland and New York in July, will stick closely to the story presented in the Bible, but some people aren't so sure. Some bloggers suspect that the film will focus more on environmental issues than on the spiritual implications of the story.
"I think it's really timely because it's about environmental apocalypse which is the biggest theme, for me, right now for what's going on on this planet," Aronofsky told SlashFilm.com in 2008. "So I think it's got these big, big themes that connect with us. Noah was the first environmentalist. He's a really interesting character."
He also stated, "I don't think it's 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."
The screenplay for "Noah" was written by Aronofsky and Ari Handel, and was revised by John Logan, an Academy Award-nominated screenwriter who wrote for another one of Crowe's films, "Gladiator."
"Noah" is slated to be released on March 28, 2014.