Click on image to enlargeThese days most of the news about Bible Films in production goes through the Facebook page, partly because so many projects start but never really finish. That said the best place to go for updates for that kind of thing now is Peter Chattaway's new blog.
But one film looks like it really is going to happen, not least because in addition to an impressive cast, a well known director and a production company, it has also started building the ark and sending round the above shot of the work in progress. I'm guessing this means that filming hasn't started yet (although it's possible they move all the machines out of the way every so often and get a few shots of Noah making the thing.
In case you've not picked up on the various bits of information doing the rounds of the movie papers the film is being directed by Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan, The Wrestler) based on a script he wrote with Ari Handel and which was then revised by John Logan (Gladiator). But the cast is pretty impressive. Russell Crowe is to take the lead role, Anthony Hopkins will play Methusaleh (the oldest man in the Bible who died aged 969 the same year as the flood if you go for all that stuff), Emma Watson as Ila Jennifer Connelly (presumably as the wife of one of Noah's three boys) and Jennifer Connelly as Naameh. If, as seems likely, Naameh is Noah's wife, then it seems Connelly is developing a nice line playing the wives of famous historical pioneers after playing Darwin'd wife in Creation. In fact it could be argued that Noah surely qualifies as a technological pioneer as well so if anyone is considering making a film about Isaac Newton, Connelly might be the actress for you.
The publicity is calling this the biggest biblical epic since The Passion of the Christ. I'm interested to know what they meant by that. The budget for The Passion was only $25 million. I suspect that were you to combine what those four actors will be paid for the film it will come in at more than that. So in that sense it will be bigger. Perhaps what they mean is that they are anticipating it taking more than The Nativity Story, but not as much as The Passion of the Christ. With the cast and crew lined up this would seem to be a reasonable hope, Crowe is still a massive star, particularly in the genre in which he became a household name, but his last film in that genre Robin Hood only made back half it's $200m budget in the US, but made an additional $215m everywhere else, making a decent profit. I'd imagine the overseas take would again be quite high, but I'm not sure Noah will make as much as Robin in either market. Still time will tell.
I'm looking forward to this film though. I've written about it several times before as well as about the various other Noah films that someone has announced were being made. In particular I hope he explores what he perceives as Noah's survivor's guilt.