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noah's ark

Russell Crowe to Play Noah in Darren Aronofsky’s Epic Biblical Retelling

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 27:  Australian actor Russell Crowe talks during a press conference to announce he will join the cast of "Ben Hur" as the narrator at the Blue Hotel on July 27, 2010 in Sydney, Australia. ANZ Stadium will be transformed into a Roman Amphitheater for the live production that will bring to life the Academy Award winning epic movie of the same title that starred American actor Charleston Heston in October, 2010.  (Photo by Graham Denholm/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Russell Crowe

The formal announcement may not come until next week, but Deadline is reporting that it's a done deal. The "edgy retelling" of the the biblical tale has been a passion of Aronofsky’s for a while, and now he's got the financial backing of New Regency and Paramount for an estimated $130 million budget. Crowe may actually be Aronofsky's third choice (or lower) for the lead: Christian Bale passed owing to other obligations and Michael Fassbender was in talks but apparently that didn't pan out. But there's no time for egos anymore. There are literally millions of animals to rescue.

Photo: Graham Denholm/2010 Getty Images