Darren Aronofsky And Russell Crowe Board The Ark For 'Noah' In July

This is more of a minor status update than a giant news break, but for those who like to see Darren Aronofsky making movies rather than videos and commercials, it is good news. Deals are done for the director, who last released Black Swan in 2010, to make his epic take on the Biblical story of Noah, with Russell Crowe in the lead role.

Deadline says that a formal announcement from Paramount and New Regency should come next week, but that Aronofsky and Crowe are signed and sealed to do Noah based on John Logan's rewrite of the Aronofsky and Ari Handel script, with the shoot starting in July.

With those deals done we should start to hear a lot of other casting, and given the two names already attached, we'll likely see some very recognizable names linked to other roles. Liam Neeson has been rumored for some time to be an antagonist, but we don't know if that will pan out.

Aronofsky has wanted to make Noah, in some form, for decades, and actively began developing the idea for this film around the time of The Fountain. (Or: he started actively talking about it around that time.) It has taken some time to get financing together, and to find an actor with the time and interest to play Noah. Christian Bale was linked, but is making two back to back films with Terrence Malick (Lawless and Knight of Cups) and other actors cropped up as possible choices.

But Crowe seems like a strong choice for the role, as he has the ability to project the strength and single-mindedness needed to build and float an Ark, as well as the vulnerability to project the doubt that almost certainly plays into the story. Aronofsky has said that this telling will downplay the religious aspect of the story somewhat, and will create Noah as an "event film." We'll see what that means over the next year or so.

I'm always nervous when a filmmaker finally gets the chance to make his or her dream project — so many of those films seem to turn out flat or overworked. Aronofsky has seemed conscious of that possibility when he talked about this project in the past, and I'm eager to see how vital Noah has remained throughout the long development process.