A film adaptation of John Milton’s classic 17th century poem, Paradise Lost, set to begin filming in Australia this summer with Bradley Cooper as Lucifer, has been axed by Legendary Pictures. The reasons reported are a bulging budget and problems with visual effects. Early reports were that the movie would include technological advances beyond Avatar, but at San Diego Comic Con in July 2011, director Alex Proyas (Dark City) admitted of Paradise Lost, “This one couldn’t have been made a few years ago. As a matter of fact, we’re not even sure we can make it now. We’re hoping we can.” I guess they couldn’t, at least not for a reasonable budget.
This must be very disappointing for Cooper, who lobbied for the role of Lucifer, putting himself on tape in order to convince Proyas that he could pull it off. In January 2012 at the Sundance Film Festival, he told interviewers that he expected to begin shooting the film in June 2012. Alongside Proyas, he talked about the project at San Diego Comic Con in July.
Cancelling the film has suddenly put a lot of people out of work this summer and is, no doubt, a blow to Australia’s film industry. Numerous crew members and eleven cast members had already been listed on the film’s IMDB page, including Rufus Sewell, Casey Affleck, and Djimon Hounsou.
Cooper had also been set to star in a remake of The Crow before litigation between the Weinstein Co. and Relativity Media (the company responsible for Limitless, Cooper’s star vehicle released in March, 2011) got in the way. Drawings of Cooper as Eric Draven were released last year before the plans fell apart. The film is now reportedly back in the planning stages, but a cast has not been announced. It will be interesting to see if Cooper is once again named as a possible star to play the role made famous by the late Brandon Lee. (Incidentally, Alex Proyas directed the original version of The Crow released in 1994.)
Nevertheless, Cooper has reason to celebrate in other areas. Besides a small role in a Dax Shepard film, the actor shot starring roles in three movies last year, including The Silver Linings Playbook with Robert DeNiro and Jennifer Lawrence, The Place Beyond the Pines with Ryan Gosling, and The Words with Jeremy Irons and Zoe Saldana.
The Words earned a big distribution deal at Sundance, and distributors are already swarming around Serena, a project he will shoot this year with Jennifer Lawrence, directed by Susanne Bier. Below, Cooper and other cast members, along with the writer/directors, talk about The Words at Sundance.
Meanwhile, Paradise Lost sounded like a very exciting production, so we can only hope that it will be “resurrected” at some point.
(Check out my article listing 20 reasons why Bradley Cooper was the right choice for Sexiest Man Alive.)