It seems that not even the devil himself can save Alex Proyas' big-budget adaptation of Milton's epic poem, Paradise Lost. The film - which recounts the angel Lucifer's fall from heaven and transformation into Satan - was set to go into production this summer, having been delayed from its original January start date. Deadline now reports that Legendary pictures has decided to scrap the film altogether.
Budget concerns were the culprit for Paradise Lost's troubles. The film - which would've needed extensive visual effects to create the sets of heaven, hell and the Garden of Eden, not to mention its angelic protagonists - already had a budget over $100 million and was expected to climb even higher as production went on. Needless to say, that was a risky proposition in the eyes of Legendary.
Paradise Lost was apparently never officially green lit, so the money already spent on scripts and pre-production will be the only losses (rather than penalty compensation for the cast or crew, etc.). While the film was indeed big in both scope and cost, it did have more than a few things going for it - the first and foremost being a solid director in Proyas, whose previous work like The Crow, Dark City, and I, Robot are still well respected and relevant today.
The cast of Paradise Lost was also promising, led by Bradley Cooper as Lucifer/Satan and Benjamin Walker (who has a breakout role in this year's Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter) as Lucifer's friend-turned-rival, the archangel Michael, alongside a cast of recognizable actors such as Djimon Hounsou (Blood Diamond), Dominic Purcell (Prison Break), Rufus Sewell (Dark City), Casey Affleck (Gone Baby Gone), Diego Boneta (also set for a breakout this year in Rock of Ages) and Camilla Belle (Push). Needless to say, this film was coming with some considerable talent behind it.
More to the point: while somewhat of a financial gamble, Paradise Lost was one of those rare cinematic gambles that seemed as though it would reward the risk. Judging from the reaction we saw around here in the Screen Rant comments section, movie fans were by and large excited to see a blockbuster biblical action/drama helmed by Proyas. The notion of seeing angels do battle on otherworldly terrains (possibly in 3D) was a welcome prospect - one that we may now only get to discuss in our reminiscing on what could have been...
For now it seems that Paradise Lost is...er, lost to us. We'll let you know if the situation changes.