Russell Crowe is Noah
Unless you haven’t yet heard, it’s now official that Russell Crowe will be playing the titular role in Darren Aronofsky’s Noah, which already has a release date of March 28, 2014. Christian Bale was initially considered, then Michael Fassbender, but both had scheduling conflicts. It seemed to work out all-around as far as I’m concerned. Bale is reteaming with Terrence Malick (twice). Fassbender is reteaming with Steve McQueen (and with Crowe’s frequent collaborator Ridley Scott right before that), and the formidable Aronofsky gets to work with the formidable Crowe for the first time. I have to admit that I had sort of, well, forgotten about Crowe for a while. I haven’t seen him in anything since State of Play (2009). The Next Three Days (2010) quickly came and went. Body of Lies (2008) was hardly a proper showcase for the talents of Scott and Crowe. And it’s been five years since his one-two-punch of American Gangster and 3:10 to Yuma. But with his role in Man of Steel (2013), his inspired role in Les Misérables (2012), and his starring role for Aronofsky, it’s going to be difficult to forget about him from here on. Crowe, of course, is not unfamiliar with period pieces, especially the swords-and-sandals variety (will Noah be wielding a sword, I wonder?). He took home an Oscar for his winning turn as Maximus in Scott’s Gladiator (2000); he stormed the seas in Peter Weir’s Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003); and he battled for Scott again as Robin Hood (2010). Something about Crowe just jives so well with parts like these. As far as my personal favorites go, I’m partial to Crowe’s ferocious turn as a skinhead in Romper Stomper (1992) and as the dazzling Bud White in L.A. Confidential (1997), but there are many to choose from. I have little idea what to expect from Noah. Obviously, slavish faithfulness is not among my expectations (Aronofsky calls the story a “great fable” here: http://www.ifc.com/fix/2011/06/darren-aronofsky-noahs-ark-christian-bale). The environmentalist angle sounds intriguing, as does the alcoholic angle. And I can’t wait to see who is cast as Noah’s opponent. But mostly, I’m just excited to see the oft micro-budget Aronofsky doing something on a grand-scale. If The Fountain (2006) gives us any indication, we’re in for a visual feast. Whatever we’re going to get, I bet it’s going to be something special.