Once he's done running the country and slaughtering legions of blood-suckers in next year's Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, actor Benjamin Walker could be up for an even more intimidating task: leading the forces of Heaven against the armies of Hell in Alex Proyas' Paradise Lost adaptation.
Bradley Cooper is already onboard to portray the fallen angel Lucifer in Proyas' cinematic version of John Milton's famous poem, which is being described as "'300' meets 'Lord of the Rings'," in terms of style.
Production on the effects extravaganza is slated to begin in January 2012, which will allow time for Cooper to complete work on David O. Russell's Silver Linings Playbook first. Walker isn't officially set for Paradise Lost yet, but his signing on is said to be all but a finished deal at this point.
Deadline caught up with Proyas, who had the following to say about the one-two punch of Walker and Cooper as dueling angelic siblings in his new project:
"... 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."
While most moviegoers are not yet familiar with him, Walker has effectively pulled off the noble-but-naive type before, in films like Kinsey and Flag of Our Fathers. Likewise, Cooper has earned himself a reputation for excelling at playing charismatic-yet-unscrupulous characters before, as evidenced by his roles in flicks like Limitless and The Hangover, as well as his stint on the show Nip/Tuck.
In short: The two do seem like genuinely nice picks to duke it out as Michael and Lucifer in Paradise Lost.
At the Legendary Pictures Comic-Con 2011 panel, Proyas mentioned that he was collaborating with a literary scholar, in order to ensure that Paradise Lost would remain largely faithful to the original Milton text. He also describes his adaptation as being more "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."
All the same, the film is being designed as a very visually grand action flick that boasts three significant set pieces - one in Heaven, one in Hell, and another in Eden - which are being fashioned on a large scale, akin to the battle sequences in Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy (hence the previous comparison). All in all, Paradise Lost is sure to look fantastic, what with the man behind films like Dark City lending his vision to the epic of (literally) Biblical proportions.
Three of the minds behind the Paradise Lost script - Philip de Blasi, Byron Willinger, and most recently, Ryan Condal - are relatively untested talents in the area of screenwriting. However, BAFTA nominee Stuart Hazeldine (Exam) and Oscar-nominee Lawrence Kasdan (The Empire Strikes Back, Raiders of the Lost Ark) has worked on the screenplay as well - which should help ensure that the film doesn't just end up being another routine mindless blockbuster.
Paradise Lost is expected to reach theaters by late 2013. We'll let you know when an official release date has been settled on.