Deadline is reporting that Paradise Lost director Alex Proyas wants to cast Benjamin Walker in the role of the archangel Michael. Walker has entered into negotiations with Legendary Pictures, and would star opposite Bradley Cooper as Lucifer.
Based on the classic poem by John Milton, the story follows the epic conflict between good and evil as Lucifer, having been cast out of Heaven, forms an army of his own and launches “the war that began all wars.” The film is expected to feature battles on par with 300 and Lord of the Rings. Says Proyas:
“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. 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.”
Proyas also revealed that there were three major setpiece battles planned for Paradise Lost, but he wants to make sure that the narrative doesn’t get lost amidst all the action:
“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.”
Proyas is currently in Australia, prepping the film for a January 2013 production start. While no release date has been finalized, sources expect to see it in theaters by Q4 2013.