Alex Proyas Directing ‘Paradise Lost’

Published 5 years ago by , Updated July 12th, 2013 at 10:42 am,

How well do you know your Christian mythology? Even if you aren’t religious, the backstory of Heaven has long been a focus of great artists throughout history.

Without a doubt one of the most famous stories in the Christian cannon has to be John Milton’s 17th-century epic poem  Paradise Lost. Well, Variety reports that Legendary Pictures is giving Paradise Lost a shot at the silver screen, and directing this epic adaptation will be none other than Alex Proyas (Knowing, The Crow, Dark City).

If you haven’t been paying attention to films like The Da Vinci Code, Legion, or The Last Exorcism,  Christian mythology is back en vogue as ripe source material for cinematic adaptation. So it’s only natural that Paradise Lost would be adapted to film. Milton’s epic chronicled two major events: the fall of the angel Lucifer (a.k.a. Satan) from heaven, as well as the fall of man, as told through the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden.

The film version of Paradise Lost will reportedly be an action/epic that follows The War In Heaven, in which archangel Michael battles his traitorous brother, Lucifer. Early speculation is that there will be aerial angel battles galore, and that yes, the film could possibly be shot in 3D.

The film’s script has been worked on by a handful of writers; Byron Willinger, Philip de Blasi and Stuart Hazeldine all worked on the primary drafts, which were then polished and revised by the likes of Lawrence Kasdan and most recently, Ryan Condal. Interestingly enough, out of the bunch only Kasdan has an extensive screenwriting resume, having worked on such classics as Empire Strikes Back, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Body Heat.

lucifer vs. michael paradise lost Alex Proyas Directing Paradise Lost

One interpretation of the battle between Lucifer and Michael

While some may fear controversy due to the religious subject matter, I personally think Paradise Lost is one of those stories that come off as more of the action/epic it’s intended to be, rather than as some moralistic religious allegory or commentary. Getting mad at the idea of angels battling it out in paradise would kind of be like getting mad at Clash of the Titans for its loose interpretation of Greek Mythology – not the type of fish that I think too many people are going to fry.

Proyas is an interesting choice of a director; his films are generally hit (The Crow) or miss (Knowing), and while he’s no stranger to big-budget tentpoles (I, Robot), I’m not sure if he’s tackled anything THIS ambitious or THIS epic before. It’ll be interesting to see how this film progresses when the first images and trailers start to emerge.

Finally, the thought of seeing something biblical presented in 3D makes me feel like the end times are truly upon us. Okay so that’s just a joke, but seriously, if done in proper “true 3D” fashion, the sight of an angelic war could be pretty awesome – if, done, right.

No word yet on when Legendary hopes to get Paradise Lost in theaters or who will be starring. Stay tuned for more.

Follow us on Twitter for updates: @screenrant

Source: Variety

Comic book image source: Mike Carey “Lucifer: The Wolf Beneath The Tree”

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  1. Sweet. Love this poem.

  2. Interesting

    never heard of it buy I do love Proyas (even though Knowing was his equivalent of The Happening).

    Also, the images reminded me of The Preacher…he’d be a solid choice to direct that as well.

    • You’ve never heard of Paradise Lost? Really? I highly recommend you give it a read.

      • Not sure it’s for me. I’m agnostic and not a fan of poetry…but I LOVE movies so I’ll watch it when it comes out :)

        • I’m the same way about religion, but I still thought it was a good read. If anything, it’s a great piece of fiction. :D

        • This is one of the cases where the book will be always better than the movie. Taking away any case of religiosity, the battles are epic and the characters larger than life. Better than good.

  3. Good thing I’ll be reading this in Lit 12 before the movie comes out :)

  4. I love “Dark City” awesome film! Like I’ve said before they need to remake the 10 commandments! I want either peter Jackson, Spielberg or Cameron or to direct it! The lead role as Moses should go to Liam Nesson!It should be epic in 3D and I’m sure it will be a box office hit!

  5. I doubt people will have any interest into this especially if they dont follow the scriptures of the bible! Its just going to be pointless just like LEGION!

    • @kissjonez

      I would actually be surprised if this film (if made and done well) DOESN’T do great in the theaters. As with “Gladiator”, “Clash of the Titans” (2D), “Troy”, “Robin Hood”, “The Ten Commandments”, etc., people LOVE to see epic spectacles…IF DONE RIGHT. They’ve already got a popular director who has shown he can make great films. There are a great many excellent actors who could portray the various warrior angels, including Lucifer and Michael. The special effects possibilities are, at this point, literally ENDLESS. This film can be great…and the religious aspects do not even need need to be the focus as long as the action is true and Lucifer’s (and A & E’s) comeuppance is shown clearly and without distraction on the screen.

  6. I think Proyas will respect the text, provided the writers/studio do the same, and he certainly has the ability to showcase a unique feel. At the same time, this seems like something that would be more effects-driven and I’m not sure how fluent he is in that department. He did a fine job completing The Crow but the film was much darker visually than one might expect to see with this story. Still, I’m interested in seeing what he can do with it.

  7. You can’t compare this with LEGION,… THAT was just a Badly written story that had potential to be good if the writers and Director took it more seriously. Milton’s “PARADISE LOST” is a Classic story that IF done correctly, will be Epic and Controversial, and perhaps, lead someone to make another Classic like “THE DIVINE COMEDY”, In seperate parts as the book tells of course.

  8. You won’t find any complaints from us atheists over this one. Paradise Lost is a classic, appreciated by people of all faiths. It’s one of those stories that’s so deeply embedded in the public consciousness that it is actually frequently mistaken for Biblical cannon (as is Dante’s Inferno).

  9. I love everything Proyas does! Yes, Including the “dreaded” Knowing! I thought knowing was a great movie. I own it and watch it every once in awhile. Of course I’m also the “one-in-a-million” fan of Nicholas Cage.

    But, this sounds very interesting. I’ve personally never read “Paradise Lost” but, I have heard about it and I guess it’s on my to-do list.

  10. How long until we hear about Sam Worthington possibly playing the Archangel Michael? Any bets?

    • LOL! I bet a month, at most. :)

  11. I WANT DANTES INFERNO NEXT!!!!! after paradise lost of course……

  12. This will be tough to film. Props to Mr. Proyas for the attempt.

  13. Why is this controversial? If they made a movie about the Bhagavad-Gita (an overtly religious Hindu text set in the backdrop of a great battle) would anybody call it controversial? Why is anything faithful to Christian text and sentiment controversial?

  14. I don’t think it is possible to do Paradise Lost without highlighing judeo/Christian thinking. The wholempoint of the Lucifer fall centers around his un willingness to bow the Jesus as the son of God. Jesus casts him out in the climax of the war. The real tragedy for me with this film is that they are not handling it like Shakespeare. Is a classic poem not unlike Shakespeare. Language is key to it. The fall of the angels is minor backstory in the book. It’s all about lucifer finding a way out of he’ll. Then it’s about him conning his way into Eden. The last act is all about corrupting Adam and eve resulting in him getting thrown down to an even worse form of hell. I am worried the will ruin this classic tale just as the did Clash of the Titians. Do what the Passion did. Go after the core bible audience. Let the controversy happen to fuel your film. Stay true the source material. I garrentee your theater will be full of old and young people who are dying not to see the story itself but to see what the fuss is all about. They will leave thinking, hmm I have never looked at the devil or religion that way and word of mouth will get around. I can make money.

    • JoeIIII…

      The religious aspect is important to the story since it is telling about the Judeo-Christian Heaven, BUT it does NOT need to be highlighted. Proyas can very easily bring up, or touch upon, that aspect without making it the central theme of the film. C.S. Lewis wrote the NARNIA books from a clearly Christian point of view (Aslan IS Jesus), but people of other faiths, as well as agnostics and atheists, can enjoy the stories as tales of discovery and adventure…fantasty stories with good lessons about character, honor, and hope. In fact, the HARRY POTTER books, while NOT religious (in fact, some religious groups actually claim they are satanic!), might easily be read and appreciated by those who DO hold to a specific faith as examples of just, moral, honorable, and “faithful” tales.
      “Paradise Lost” may be filmed in a similar manner to appeal to the widest possible audience.

    • Hey i really like what you said, for me it will just be a popcorn movie nothing more i feel that people will like the action of the movie but dont feed from anything from it if they put anything thats in the bible in this i mean they lack the word of GOD trust when i say people will forget this film.

  15. Odd, it’s like I have a sixth sense for these sorts of things. I was just thinking about adapting the title of Milton’s Paradise Lost into a film. Low and behold someone is attempting to pick it up.

    Though I’m not really crazy about any of Mr. Proya’s work and just lacks the experience to do this right. Granted I’m sure Alex is a great director and is good at what he does for the audiences he sells to, but Paradise Lost just doesn’t seem to fall into his office of expertise.

    I’ll have to wait to see who he uses to cast the film, and who produces the actual film itself to be able to say if it will fail or succeed at the box office.

    Though I have to say casting for the roles that will take place is going to be very difficult. Casting for Adam and Eve is one thing but casting for such legendary figures like Michael and Lucifer is a whole other ball game. Lets face it, those are some pretty big shoes to fill and is pivotal to whether this movie fails or not.

    Though I have a gut feeling Alex is going to butcher poor Milton’s epic title. I hope he does it right, but I have a feeling this thing is going to flop like Legion if he does what he’s done with other movies…

    • Fenrir,

      You and I must be cut from the same cloth. I too, just in the last month have been thinking about tackling Milton’s poem turning it into a novel but thought I would investigate to see if it has been done – sure enough! And now a movie too. Strange, very strange.

      I agree with you also-my gut groans, that this film will be a mutilation of Milton’s work. If it is done correctly, reverently in the vein of LoTR regarding quality, it could be an all time classic. But I’m not going to hold my breath.

      According to, it would appear the entire project lies in Limbo at this time. I can wait until it will be done well.

  16. Well i never read the poem but i always wanted to see a film about the war in heaven but i Hope they stay true to Milton’s Paradise Lost poem but we will see how it come out and if they fail well they just need to stop and i mean really stop and when the time come for films like that to be seen and change live’s it will happened when God is ready.

  17. It was always on my heart to adapt this film into a screen play, but I guess it wasn’t in the Lords will for me to do so. I believe it will be epic and make people see these events from a different light. Besides hollywood doesn’t choose directors…God does

    • Raymond…

      I assure I am NOT trying to be snitty with this comment…

      Actually, Hollywood DOES pick the director; if God did, everyone who believed in him would HAVE to wonder about the MANY mistakes that have been made in choosing directors throughout film history…

      • Sorry…Him.

  18. Heres the thing, this is a story qhich satan is the protagonist of the story. he is the focal point of paradise lost, he’s depicted more as a tragic hero rather then the fire and brimstone guy we all know and love. The drama needs to be there and it needs to be deep. Proyas is not a bad choice since I really did love Dark City, a true treat for the human mind and better then the matrix. What I hope for pryas to accomplish is that there has to be strong acting and performances in the film, it shouldn’t be a special effects fest. the story serves as more of a love story between the break between satan and god. I just hope the characters are well fleshed out and the images are very much like a canvas painting. I do like the choice of proyas though.

  19. I have been writing a similar screenplay for 2 years. I have researched as many sources I could from Bible, Koran, Paradise Lost and the study of angels and demons. I am calling it, “Fallen Angels” .

    Give me some feedback. Should I continue? I will the have the final draft spec script and I will give it to my agent by March 2014.

    It is more than just epic battles and it is not anything like Legion. It is makes you love Satan in the beginning and then Hate him by the end all the in the same movie. It makes Satan more human. He is called the great morning star and then called SATAN at the end. You know it is coming and are hoping he doesn’t rebel against God but he does and all hell breaks loose. But don’t worry the good guy wins!

  20. Bold Screenwriter: I wrote. Seven book series of novels on this subject. I did the same thing where Satan was not called Satan until “went to the dark side”, as it were.

  21. Leander that is great. 7 books! Do have any bites on getting it published? It would be great to find out what the ‘great mourning star’ is in Hebrew. That is his name in heaven. I think it would be cool for you not to know who satan is yet. Not until 10 mins into the movie.