Benjamin Walker, the man who will be Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, is in negotiations with Legendary Pictures to star in Alex Proyas’ adaptation of Paradise Lost. Walker is up for the role of Michael, the archangel engaged in an epic battle of good and evil with Lucifer (Bradley Cooper), who mounts an army after after he is cast out of heaven. Proyas is striving for a distinct and magnificent aesthetic with cutting-edge visual effects. Hunter was very impressed with what he saw at the Comic-Con panel, suggesting “this movie could be one of the most visually breathtaking things ever projected on the silver screen.” To give us a taste, Legendary released this enigmatic piece of concept art.
Production will begin in January in Sidney, which allows Cooper to shoot The Silver Linings Playbook in the fall. Legendary is eying the end of 2013 for the 3D release. Hit the jump to hear how Proyas describes his vision for the film.
Proyas told Deadline:
“It’s not just armies battling in an epic war. This is an adventure about the origins of good and evil after Lucifer’s rebellion gets him cast out of Heaven and leads to a struggle with his brother archangel over the soul of mankind, starting with Adam and Eve. That is the scope of the narrative here, and we’ve tried to say as faithful as possible to Milton’s text, particularly its focus on Lucifer’s evolution and the birth of evil. It’s a family saga, about a group of brothers, two in particular, who are on divergent paths, and Lucifer’s feelings of betrayal by his father and family that forge his descent into evil.”
Proyas has plans for three major battle set pieces: one in heaven, another in hell, and a third in Eden. Proyas believes Cooper and Walker are the perfect duo to ground the action:
“I’ve sometimes thought that only an insane person would want to make this movie, because it’s visually audacious and has to live up to a classic poem that is so beloved. I don’t think the visuals could have been done justice until now, which is the great fun of being a film director in this modern age of visual effects. Despite all those possibilities, the characters are what’s most important. [Walker's] deal isn’t closed yet, but I think there’s a wonderful duality about Ben’s persona, this combination of great strength and perfect innocence that works so well for Michael. And Bradley is the most charming guy you’ll ever meet, with this extraordinary charisma. Lucifer was the brightest and smartest of the archangels, and even as he descended into evil and evolved into Satan, he’s not just some black-and-white villain. Bradley brings extraordinary depth to that journey.”
This is a surprising amount of buzz during pre-production on an adaptation of a 17th century epic poem. Until we see more, I’ll stay here in Skeptic’s Corner. But I wish the filmmakers the best of luck in living up to the hype.