On the heals of news that the studio is ushering in screen legend Warren Beatty‘s long-gestating Howard Hughes picture, Paramount continues to improve its studio street-cred, this time via Darren Aronofsky, still riding high off the utterly-improbable mega-success that was indie schlock-fest Black Swan, which grossed over $300 million worldwide.

The auteur’s been trying to get his bible-themed, $130 million-budgeted epic off the ground for some time, even going so far as to make a graphic novel of the film before the film, as a means to sell it with a bit more ease. And, sure enough, it looks like it’s about to sell.

The filmmaker’s not shy in talking about the project, both downplaying the religious source material and up-selling the high drama of it all:

“It’s a great fable that’s part of so many different religions and spiritual practices. I just think it’s a great story that’s never been on film…I want to make a big event film, and I think it can be that.”

Aronofsky’s initial draft is currently being rewritten by John Logan (Sweeney Todd, The Aviator).

Auteurs taking on epics has long been the dream and bane of many a film studio, from Joseph Mankiewicz’s Cleopatra to Beatty’s Reds to Martin Scorsese’s Gangs of New York. They’re the kind of films everyone wants to make, but no one wants to deal with. One can only giggle at what Aronofsky’s version of this will look like. [Deadline]

Can Paramount handle this kind of artistry in this kind of cinematic climate?

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