Christian Bale Out, Michael Fassbender In For Darren Aronofsky’s ‘Noah’?

It looks like Christian Bale’s busy post-“Batman” schedule has forced him to bow out of Darren Aronofsky’sNoah.” According to Variety, Bale has passed on the leading role in Aronofsky’s long-developing biblical epic, opening the door for 2011 “It Man” Michael Fassbender to step in and replace him.

The “Shame” and “X-Men: First Class” star has not received an official offer just yet, but “sources” tell Variety that Fassbender has discussed the gig with Aronofsky, who wrote the original screenplay with Ari Handel, which was rewritten by Oscar-winner John Logan (“Gladiator,” “Sweeney Todd,” “The Aviator”).

While it is a bummer that the Bale/Aronofsky team-up has fallen through, due to Bale’s commitment to Terrence Malick for his back-to-back films “Lawless” and “Knight of Cups,” Fassbender would be a fantastic replacement. The jury’s still out on his ability to grow Noah-esque facial hair though.

And although 2011 has been a killer year for Fassbender – one of the actors for whom we’re most thankful – he has yet to fill his upcoming filming schedule with a slew of projects. Next up is Steven Soderbergh’s “Haywire” in January 2012, followed by a role in Ridley Scott’s highly anticipated “Aliens”-esque movie, “Prometheus,” so all things considered, it seems as though Fassbender has some time to spend with Aronofsky on his big budget re-telling of the classic “Noah” tale.

Production was previously slated to begin in the spring of 2012, though no telling what affect this casting news might have on the long-delayed production.

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