Russell Crowe & Liam Neeson Circle Darren Aronofsky's Biblical Epic 'Noah'

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by The Playlist
February 1, 2012 11:21 PM
20 Comments
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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.

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20 Comments

  • ErfaN | May 31, 2012 3:31 PMReply

    I Love Russell Corwe
    And Liam Neeson a lot
    I think "Noah" will be a Great Film
    I can't wait for it

    ErfaN from Iran :D

  • Bogart | February 2, 2012 4:24 PMReply

    Neeson is the new Charles Bronson... an older actor, who starred in a violent revenge flick (Death Wish - Taken) and then became typecast/ lazy with the rest of his film choices... However, Mr Majestik and The Mechanic were great so I'll just shup-up.

  • Tom | February 2, 2012 12:34 PMReply

    Russell Crowe and Liam Neeson? Aren't they kind of old and icky?

  • PETA | February 2, 2012 2:49 AMReply

    The real question is who they're going to get to play the animals.

  • kitcon | February 2, 2012 2:05 AMReply

    Add another reasonably big name for a female lead and this should be good to go.

  • Oogle monster | February 2, 2012 4:57 AM

    I'm thinking a little Mila Kunis reunion would be swell. Or take a huge risk and go with Elizabeth Olsen. Justice for Lizzie! Justice for Lizzie!

  • Nomenclature | February 1, 2012 11:31 PMReply

    Isn't Crowe in Les Miserable too? Dude is busy these days.

  • OOGLE MONSTER | February 1, 2012 11:29 PMReply

    If a complete unknown like Rooney Mara was given the opportunity to head a 100+ franchise, then Fassbender who is anything but unknown as this point should be given a fair shot. Justice for Fassy! Come on Playlist, say it with me! Justice for Fassy! Justice for Fassy!

  • Oogle monster | February 2, 2012 4:41 PM

    Edward Davis- I appreciate your complete lack of enthusiasm but dude, really the parenthesis? You can't even pretend to play along and add an exclamation point? I can never win with you guys.

  • Oogle Monster | February 2, 2012 4:40 PM

    Christopher Bell knows what's up. Justice for Fassy!

  • ral | February 2, 2012 3:25 PM

    Oogle, I just don't think it's exactly fair to say for sure that he's "box office poison" or a "bad omen" based on *those* movies. Craig's non-Bond movies would have had a good chance of flopping with even Depp or Clooney in the leads (though perhaps not internationally). Two of them had bad production problems and were critically panned (The Invasion, Dream House), one was a dour, not-so-well-received attempt at Oscar-bait (Defiance), and the other was fucking Cowboys and Aliens. And his latest, Dragon Tattoo, didn't flop at all, though, yes, the fact that the book was a huge bestseller probably helped. I'd have no problem saying he was a "bad omen," box office-wise, if I thought it completely fair; I think he's a good actor, but I'm not really a fan. /// Christopher Jason Bell, true, but there's a big difference. This isn't Mel Gibson's "Noah," this is Darren Aronofsky's. I don't expect a great deal of The Old Testemant's fans to come out in droves for this. Spielberg's Moses movie on the other hand...

  • Edward Davis | February 2, 2012 1:20 PM

    "Justice for Fassy"

    While Fassy's box-office average is similar to Crowe's do the basic math on the lifetime gross and you'll see as a brand, a name, Crowe beats out Fassbender 10/1. Crowe is also known and much bigger/known overseas.

  • Christopher Jason Bell | February 2, 2012 11:58 AM

    I enjoy this conversation, I do. But lets not pretend that "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" has more fans than "The Old Testament."

  • Huffy | February 2, 2012 8:27 AM

    No, Darren cannot just make studios listen to whatever he wants because Black Swan was a success, especially not after his last high-concept, effects-driven epic flopped. If Arronofsky tries to butt heads with the studios over this issue it won't be pretty. He clearly knows that which is why he's looking at more established stars. Clearly you have a thing for "Fassy" but he ain't getting this role. And really, he's a little young anyways. Noah had adult children, didn't he?
    As for Mara she was being cast into an already famous role in a well-known franchise. In many ways casting an unknown is beneficial in that situation since they have no baggage (imagine if Scarlett Johansson got that role). On the other hand Noah is the kind of role that would benefit (at least in terms of marketing) from having a household name attached, as it will get people talking about the film.

  • Oogle monstser | February 2, 2012 4:55 AM

    @Ral- Craig has been a bad omen outside of the Bond series. He's not a great actor... despite whatever A-list status you want to throw at him. Neither Craig or Mara were bankable at that time... and if you figure in marketing to the already 90+ budget of the film, it had to have exceeded 100 mil easily. Having a preexisting fan base due to the books helped, absolutely. But it wasn't your family friendly Harry Potter or Hunger Games franchise, so the filmmaker/studio had to make sure it translated to the larger movie-going public and would also reclaim those who had seen the Swedish version and swore by it. Point is, there were as many obstacles as there were highlights to casting Mara and Craig. I think there are plenty of bible thumpers (I kid, I kid!) that would be willing to go see this film, not to mention Aronofsky loyalists. Fassbender's fan base is growing rapidly too. By the time Prometheus comes out, dude will be a household name. Justice for Fassy! Justice for Fassy!

  • ral | February 2, 2012 2:30 AM

    Rah-Al, I didn't really say he was. I was just pointing out that Rooney Mara wasn't heading the franchise on her own. But believe it or not, Daniel Craig *is* an "A-list" actor, as is Russell Crowe. And I think it's definitely arguable that Craig's movies flop because they tend to suck (The Invasion, Defiance, Cowboys & Aliens, Dream House). Just as The Tourist flopped, domestically at least, despite the presence of Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie. Oh and The Rum Diary, too.

  • Rah-al | February 2, 2012 1:46 AM

    "But that movie had Daniel Craig too". Since when is Daniel Craig a box-office draw? None of his non-James Bond movies have been hits. This is some bull shit. Justice for Fassy! Justice for Fassy!

  • ral | February 2, 2012 1:16 AM

    But that movie had Daniel Craig too, not to mention a huge bestseller as its source and a budget about $40 million smaller.

  • OOGLE MONSTER | February 2, 2012 12:16 AM

    Given the massive success of Black Swan, I think Aronofsky is sitting pretty at the moment. He can throw around ideas and the studio will listen. Justice for Fassy! Justice for Fassy! Justice for Fassy!

  • Jawknee | February 1, 2012 11:33 PM

    Fincher has far more pull than Aronofsky.

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