Paradise Lost wants Craig to play Lucifer, again
Back in April of last year I talked about the possiblity of Daniel Craig appearing as the Devil alongside Ewan McGregor in a film called I, Lucifer, based on the . Now though he's being eyed to play the role of the Devil again, this time in an adaptation of Milton's poem Paradise Lost.
The poem concerns the Judeo-Christian story of the Fall of Man: the temptation of Adam and Eve by Lucifer and their expulsion from the Garden of Eden. Milton's purpose, stated in Book I, is "to justify the ways of God to men" (l. 26) and elucidate the conflict between His eternal foresight and free will.
The protagonist of this Protestant epic is the fallen angel, Satan. Looked at from a modern perspective it may appear to some that Milton presents Satan sympathetically, as an ambitious and proud being who defies his tyrannical creator, omnipotent God, and wages war on Heaven, only to be defeated and cast down.
The story was written by two screenwriters Philip DiBlasi and Byron Willinger who have been unsuccessfully pitching the story for some time. Now Producer Vincent Newman has bought the rights and is touting the story.
Apparently, according to the New York Times article through Bits of News, Scott Derrickson is set to direct. He directed The Exorcism of Emily Rose, which is a pretty good sign, well, directing wise anyway.
Newman thinks that this would be like Lord of the Rings but bigger, and would like Craig or Heath Ledger to star as Lucifer. There are some comments he makes that are quite worrying to hear, like:
"In Eden there’s the nudity problem...which would be a big problem for a big studio movie...
...if you get past the Milton of it all, and think about the greatest war that’s ever been fought, the story itself is pretty compelling..."
So you can see Milton fans will be up in arms almost immediately, however you have to concentrate on that last sentance and think about it. The closing scenes of Constantine could perhaps give a feel for some of what we might be in for, humans being toyed with ambiguously minded angels of good and evil, and the angels fighting together might prove spectacular.
However, it's early days yet, and the comments about the misunderstanding of Hollywood executives don't make me think that it's in for an easy ride to the big screen. Right now the script is going through another rewrite by another scriptwriter, Stuart Hazeldine, so we shall see.
One of the most interesting parts of the story is that Satan is portrayed in a sympathetic light to begin with, and the poem turns to show his failings. Interestingly Hazeldine has a good hold on the idea as he likens the presentation character of Satan to the audience as Henry in Goodfellas.
"You can’t understand the nature of the fall until you’ve tasted some of the exhilaration of sin and crime. Scorsese makes you feel the rush of being in the Mafia — what it’s like to be special, get the best table at a restaurant, kill anyone and get away with it. Milton was after something like that, and that’s what we’re trying to convey."
Now that works for me. That does hit the crux of how to convey the character perfectly, it's just what we're going to see conveyed is the next question, and will there be a big enough budget to deliver the greatest battle ever to the big screen? Especially if they get Craig or Ledger involved?