Benjamin Walker Set to Play the Archangel Michael in 'Paradise Lost'
Back in May we learned that Bradley Cooper was going to play Lucifer in Alex Proyas' adaptation of Paradise Lost, the John Milton poem that chronicles the epic war in heaven between archangels Michael and Lucifer, including the latter's role in Adam and Eve's fall from grace. Now Deadline says Legendary Pictures is in negotiations with Benjamin Walker, who will be more recognizable after audiences see his performance as the titular president in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, to play the archangel Michael. These two will face-off in battles said to resemble 300 meets Lord of the Rings, but with winged warriors.
Production begins in January next year, and while we've heard that the film will utilize motion capture technology for the shoot, but Proyas didn't mention that when speaking with Deadline. However, here's what he had to say on the story and epic adventure we can expect to see in the film:
"It's not just armies battling in an epic war. This is an adventure about the origins of good and evil after Lucifer's rebellion gets him cast out of Heaven and leads to a struggle with his brother archangel over the soul of mankind, starting with Adam and Eve. That is the scope of the narrative here, and we've tried to say as faithful as possible to Milton's text, particularly its focus on Lucifer's evolution and the birth of evil. It's 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."
Though we don't know if the film will use motion capture after all, Proyas says the visuals are a huge part of telling the story properly, "I've sometimes thought that only an insane person would want to make this movie, because it's visually audacious and has to live up to a classic poem that is so beloved. I don't think the visuals could have been done justice until now, which is the great fun of being a film director in this modern age of visual effects." But he also recognizes that it will be the characters and dynamic between Cooper and Walker that also make the film work:
"Despite all those possibilities, the characters are what's most important. His deal isn't closed yet, but 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."
Though I've yet to see work from Walker that would allows me to be excited about his casting, I trust Proyas implicitly with the decision. Cooper's involvement is a bit surprising as this will be the first villainous role he's taken in an action film like this, and playing Lucifer himself is a pretty daunting task. At this point, I'm most excited to see how the world from Milton's epic poem comes to life on the big screen, and since visuals are definitely Proyas' strength as a filmmaker, we shouldn't be disappointed, even if the concept art unveiled at Comic-Con didn't leave much to be excited about last month. We'll continue to keep you updated!