Seeing as this comes not directly from Darren Aronofsky, but from Hollywood Elsewhere‘s Jeffrey Wells, who in turn heard it from Aronofsky’s frequent cinematographer Matthew Libatique, it’s probably safest to take the following news with a grain of salt. If true, though, it could mean we’re one step closer to finally seeing a project that’s been a very long time coming.

According to Wells, Libatique says that Aronofsky’s Noah is slated to begin shooting in July for a fall 2013 release, and that the production is still seeking its Noah and its villain. And by “villain,” no, I don’t mean the flood. More details after the jump.

“They’re going to start shooting in July in New York and Iceland and [Libatique] says it’s really a good script,” Wells said on a recent episode of the Oscar Poker podcast (via The Playlist). “They’re really doing the story of Noah, a very unlikely subject you might think for a cutting edge fellow like Darren Aronofsky, but that’s what they’re doing. It’s going to be more likely a Fall 2013 release.”

Wells further explained that one of the hangups on the project is that “they haven’t cast Noah yet. But it’s got a guy in his 40s so it’s not going to be young. It’s going to be 40s.” He added, “And there’s a big villain part, gotta have a villain in the story of Noah. Someone who’s saying ‘Listen, don’t listen to him. We’re fine! We don’t need to build any ark. Don’t be so alarmist! Don’t be so fundamentalist.’ You know? One of those guys. So it sounded like a lot of fun, actually.”

Though Michael Fassbender was reported as a strong possibility for the title character back in November, the new info suggests he may be out of the running. For one thing, Fassbender’s plans to do Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave this summer could prove to be scheduling conflict. For another, at 34, Fassbender is several years younger than (Wells says Libatique says) the role calls for. On the other hand, Hollywood ages actors up or down on a pretty regular basis, and if 12 Years a Slave moves quickly, Fassbender could still have time to begin shooting Noah. At any rate, if the project really is gearing up for a summer start, we can expect to hear more casting news soon.

Though it’s only recently that the project’s begun to pick up serious steam, Aronofsky has been planning Noah for several years now, and he’s even mentioned in interviews that his interest in the biblical tale goes all the way back to his adolescence. The first volume of a French graphic novel based on the script has already hit shelves in Europe.

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