Benjamin Walker May Play Archangel Michael In Alex Proyas' Paradise Lost
Benjamin Walker is just about to blow up. Though theater fans are already fully aware of him thanks to his performance in Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson (for which he gained overwhelmingly positive critical reviews), next year will see him in the title role of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter - which recently completed filming - and now he's close to landing yet another starring role.
Deadline has learned that Walker is now in talks to go face-to-face with Bradley Cooper as the archangel Michael in the Alex Proyas-directed Paradise Lost. Cooper, of course, is playing Lucifer in the film, which is scheduled to begin shooting in January and is currently targeting a late 2013 release date. Adapted from John Milton's epic poem, the project has been in development for seven years and, according to the report, will have "cutting-edge visual effects that will make [the movie's] battles resemble 300 meets Lord of the Rings -- but with winged warriors." The director told the site that the film will have three major battle sequences, one in Heaven, one in Hell and one in the Garden of Eden. "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," said Proyas. "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."
But for all of those concerned that this will simply be a mindless action film, Proyas assures fans of the text that the focus is on character and the origins of good and evil. "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," said Proyas. "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." Speaking on the potential casting of Walker, the director said that he sees a mix of strength and innocence that will work perfectly for Michael.
I'm still not entirely sure how they plan to actually pull this off. Milton's work is so dense and epic that it logistically can't fit into a two or even three hour film. Hopefully the writers have been trimming in the right places and not turning the poem into Swiss cheese.
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