By Rodrigo Perez | The Playlist February 1, 2012 at 11:21PM
First it was Christian Bale, but then he got preoccupied with two Terrence Malick films (not bad work if you can get it). Then the idea of Michael Fassbender was floated around, but as much as we love Fassy, we know in the eyes of studios he can’t float a $130 million ambitious epic – he's just not a "star" yet. So it comes as not much a surprise that director Darren Aronofsky is looking elsewhere to cast the lead of his ambitious biblical epic, “Noah.”
According to Deadline, now Russell Crowe is being eyed for the lead role. He might not be the sexiest of leading men any more in the eyes of those who think Fassbender is god’s new gift to women, but he is an Academy Award winning Best Actor for a film that also won the Best Oscar that year (“Gladiator”). He’s also been nominated for two other Oscars (“A Beautiful Mind” and “The Insider”), so while he is playing the elder-statesman role of Jor-El in Zack Snyder’s “Man Of Steel,” and leaving the super heroics to someone younger, clearly Crowe isn’t ready to be put to pasture just yet (and if he did, he'd surely go kicking and screaming to the last breath).
There’s been talk recently (courtesy of Aronofsky's DP, Matthew Libatique) that “Noah” has been in search of a major villain, and while there’s no confirmation here, the trade also reports that Liam Neeson is being eyed for a role which is not a bad idea, considering how much the actor has become a box-office draw these days as an action star (who woulda thunk a guy pushing 60 would become an action star this late in life?).
Last we had heard, “Noah” was due to shoot this summer, but we assume that’s going to be up in the air until Paramount, the backers of this one, are comfortable with bankable leads, and Crowe and Neeson might just be the pair needed to get that green light (a fall 2013 release is apparently being eyed). Frankly, we’re on board whoever they slot in there. This one sounds like a deeply ambitious project and one that Aronofsky’s been talking about for several years. Imagine we could have missed this one if he would have done “The Wolverine” instead? Let’s be thankful for small miracles.