News first came back at the start of June that Darren Aronofsky had settled on his next film to follow up from the Oscar-winning Black Swan, and it would be a biblical epic, Noah. Swiftly after that, we heard that Christian Bale was in talks for the lead, which sounded like a brilliant match.

With no less than two Terrence Malick pictures currently in his schedule, however, Variety report that Bale has had to exit talks to star in Aronofsky’s Noah, and in his place, the excellent rising star Michael Fassbender is being eyed for the eponymous role.

No official offer has been made yet, but Fassbender is thought to have been talking with Aronofsky about the part, and his casting would be another terrific choice. He’s had such a great year this year, with leading roles in X-Men: First Class and Jane Eyre, and next year is looking even better for him, with A Dangerous Method, Steve McQueen’s anticipated Shame, Soderbergh’s Haywire, and Ridley Scott’s Prometheus all due out in the next six months.

The film is being co-financed by New Regency and Paramount, the latter of whom have worked with Aronofsky on his last three films, with Aronofsky’s budget estimated at about $130m. The original script comes from Aronofsky himself and collaborator Ari Handel, with John Logan (The Last Samurai, Gladiator) doing a rewrite.

Essentially, this is going to be awesome, with production set to begin early next year. As much as I would have loved to see Bale in the role, getting another Fassbender leading role is great in my books too, so hopefully the talks will continue to go well, and there’ll be an official offer to report on soon. More news as we get it.