Russell Crowe has been cast as Noah, the man who fills an ark with every species of animal in the world to escape a flood, in a new film directed by Darren Aronofsky.

Paramount Pictures and New Regency Productions confirmed the news Sunday, following months of rumours that Crowe would play the title role in the biblical tale.

The Master and Commander star will begin shooting in July in Iceland and New York.

Aronofsky has adapted the story with Ari Handel — his collaborator on Pi, The Fountain, The Wrestler and Black Swan — and John Logan, who worked on Gladiator, which earned Crowe a best-actor Oscar.

"I'd like to thank Paramount and Regency for backing my team's work to breathe new life into the biblical epic," Aronofsky, who earned an Academy Award nomination for Black Swan, said in a statement.

"I rejoice that Russell Crowe will be by my side on this adventure. It's his immense talent that helps me to sleep at night. I look forward to being wowed by him every day."

Aronofsky will head the jury for the 2012 Venice Film Festival.

Crowe recently spent time in Britain filming the movie adaptation of the musical Les Misérables, in which he plays Inspector Javert opposite Hugh Jackman's Jean Valjean. He is also reportedly set for roles in Winter’s Tale and Broken City. 

The New Zealand-born Australian actor and singer also appeared this season on CBC's Republic of Doyle.