Two Competing PARADISE LOST Projects Race to Theatres

     April 29, 2009

Written by Matt Goldberg

It looks like damnation is all the rage with not only a videogame and movie adaptation of Dante’s “Inferno” on the way but two competing adaptations of John Milton’s immortal “Paradise Lost”, a dense epic poem chronicling Satan’s manipulation of Adam and Eve into original sin. It’s not the easiest work to adapt but Milton’s Satan is a remarkable character and there’s a dramatic arc at work that could translate to a two or two-and-a-half hour film (maybe three hours if the producers want to emphasize the “epic” part of the poem).

According to Reuters, two companies are racing to adapt the film. First is the lovable underdog in this scenario, veteran producer Martin Poll who has been trying to get the film to the screen for forty years and may have finally secured financing for a $30-35 million adaptation with unknowns playing Adam and Eve but hopefully a star taking on the Satan role (provided it’s written correctly, the role could be something a talented actor could sink his or her teeth into).

And in the other corner, wearing the evil trunks, are Warner Bros. with director Scott Derrickson at the helm for a big-budget adaptation. I have nothing against WB (they’ve become a personal favorite in the major studio game for taking chances on “Watchmen” and “Observe and Report”) but Derrickson really shit the bed when he pissed all over “The Day the Earth Stood Still” and he has never indicated that he has even the modicum of talent required to handle an adaptation of “Paradise Lost” beyond a heartless CG wank-fest. I would rather see an unknown take the helm because then I could at least hold out some hope.

There’s no telling which film will reach the finish line, assuming that either of them even do.

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