EXCLUSIVE: We’ve learned the deals are done for this big-ticket New Regency/Paramount co-production Noah which Deadline has been scooping first for nearly a year now. A formal announcement should come
this next week. The once hoped-for spring start is now July, sources say. Russell Crowe is set to float the boat as Noah in Darren Aronofsky’s edgy Biblical re-telling of Noah’s Ark. At one point Christian Bale coming off The Dark Knight Rises was Aronofsky’s choice for the title character. But the dates didn’t work because Bale was committed to doing the Terrence Malick-directed Lawless and Knight Of Cups being made back to back. It took several more months for Aronofsky to fix on Crowe which is great casting since he’s one of those larger than life actors able to take on such an iconic role. Crowe also teams up again with familiar names: Arnon Milchan’s New Regency which made L.A. Confidential, and Gladiator scribe John Logan who rewrote the Noah script by Aronofsky and Ari Handel. Aronofsky and Logan are repped by CAA which was steering the project, and Crowe is repped by WME.
This is Aronofsky’s follow-up to his Oscar-nominated smash Black Swan. Noah now joins a bevy of Biblical films including Steve Spielberg’s gritty Moses re-telling for Warner Bros. (Interestingly, Aronofsky briefly flirted with helming Exodus, a Fox/Chernin Entertainment-produced telling of the story of Moses.) ”Since I was a kid, I have been moved and inspired by the story of Noah and his family’s journey,” Aronofsky said during Noah’s development process. “The imaginations of countless generations have sparked to this epic story of faith. It’s my hope that I can present a window into Noah’s passion and perseverance for the silver screen.” Aronofsky even dropped out of helming The Wolverine for his ambitious dream project which he initially envisioned as a sprawling fantasy epic that could cost north of $130 million. Then again he generated one of the most profitable movies in recent memory, Black Swan, which grossed $315M worldwide on a $12M budget. Aronofsky and Scott Franklin are producing with Mary Parent who’s based at Paramount.
This is one of the first signature filmmaker-driven projects from Milchan’s ”new” New Regency now headed by CEO Brad Weston and president of production Carla Hacken. Since restructuring the company, Milchan has reinserted himself as an active chairman who’s rolling up his sleeves again. The aim is to return to the kind of edgy films Milchan used to make, when he produced and funded pictures that included L.A. Confidential, Heat, Fight Club, and JFK. Though New Regency is partly owned by News Corp, whose 20th Century Fox distributes and often co-finances Regency-generated films, Paramount won a bidding battle to partner with New Regency and formalized a deal to co-finance Noah after CAA began shopping the package. The film fits into Paramount’s mandate to make films with global appeal.