Back in April 2007 was when we first heard Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan, The Wrestler) was planning Noah, a biblical epic based on the Noah's Ark story. Now Deadline is reporting Aronofsky is shopping around his "edgy re-telling" of the story and wants $130 million to make it. New Regency is said to be eying a co-financing role to foot half the bill with Paramount, Fox and Summit potentially ready to step up for the other half.
The first time we heard of this project came from The Guardian where Aronofsky said, "Noah was the first person to plant vineyards and drink wine and get drunk. It's there in the Bible - it was one of the first things he did when he reached land. There was some real survivor's guilt going on there. He's a dark, complicated character."
Next, in a 2008 interview with Slashfilm Aronofsky described the screenplay which he co-wrote with Ari Handel who collaborated with him on the story for his existential 2007 feature The Fountain. "It’s a great script and it’s HUGE. And we’re starting to feel out talent. And then we’ll probably try and set it up," he said. "Look... It’s the end of the world and it’s the second most famous ship after the Titanic. So I’m not sure why any studio won’t want to make it."
He continued, saying, "It’s a really cool project and I think it’s really timely because it’s about environmental apocalypse which is the biggest theme, for me, right now for what’s going on on this planet. So I think it’s got these big, big themes that connect with us. Noah was the first environmentalist. He’s a really interesting character. Hopefully they’ll let me make it."
That same year I interviewed Aronofsky and asked him about the project, at which time he said, "We're actually going to do a graphic novel of it right now, we're just starting it, and we're hiring a writer." That graphic novel came closer to a reality this February when the concept art you see peppered throughout this post surfaced from Canadian artist Nico Henrichon. The video you see at the end of this post debuted at the same time.
The obvious question at this point is whether or not Aronofsky will be able to secure $130 million for what sounds like an incredibly risky project, but with the graphic novel, the script and the video you see below it certainly serves as a good start.
As far as actors, back when I interviewed Aronofsky in 2008 he told me, "There is an actor attached, but I'm not going to say who, but he's a big movie star." Of course, that was two-and-a-half years ago and there's no telling how much has changed since then.
For starters, Aronofsky has since bowed out of directing the comic book sequel The Wolverine, he flirted with telling the tale of Moses in Exodus for 20th Century Fox, he's considered directing a RoboCop remake, he was the first director attached to The Fighter and just last month he was rumored to be eying a new project called Human Nature with George Clooney attached to star.
However, Deadline's Mike Fleming says the writer/director is "very passionate about [Noah] and wants to make it [his] next film" and with the heat he's generated since Black Swan went on to make $315 million worldwide on a $12 million budget he just might be able to do it. Personally, I love Aronofsky's work and would love to see something like this come together. He's a risky filmmaker and that's exactly what kind of projects film fans want to see their favorite directors tackling.
So here's to hoping one of the three studios mentioned above steps in and let's him do his thing.