Lucifer Pumps the Brakes: 'Paradise Lost' Delayed Due to Budgetary Concerns

Tuesday, 13 December 2011 10:47 Written by  Jordan DeSaulnier
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Lucifer Pumps the Brakes: 'Paradise Lost' Delayed Due to Budgetary Concerns

In the 17th Century, John Milton spent literally years composing one of the greatest English poems ever written, laboring well into his own blindness to create a properly grandiose epic retelling of Satan's war with God and fall from grace, as well as the creation of the human race.  So it was probably hubris to expect that Paradise Lost, a 3D action movie inspired by Milton's text, would make it to theaters without a hitch.  Under the direction of Alex Proyas, the film was set to begin production next month in Australia, but Legendary Pictures has temporarily postponed the start date in an attempt to get an escalating budget under control.

Proyas, a proven visual stylist with credits including The Crow and Dark City, said of the project in August, "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.  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."

In order to convey that massive story, Paradise Lost will make extensive use of motion capture and apparently the budget has crept past $120 million by 10% to 15%.  According to Deadline, this escalation has caused producer Vincent Newman and Thomas Tull and Jon Jashni of Legendary to delay the January start date.  This is very much not a plug being pulled, but is instead an attempt to continue development and trim whatever fat can be trimmed from the production.

In these economic times – which all the Ramen noodles in my cabinets indicate are less than robust – this concern over ballooning budgets is increasingly common.  The most public and high-profile instance was, of course, the fracas over Disney's The Lone Ranger potentially costing $250 million and being put on hold while the studio and creative figures brought that figure down.

Still, it appeared that Paradise Lost had the momentum to get underway next month.  The project has hired a full crew and Proyas has assembled a pretty impressive cast.  Bradley Cooper has long been set to play Satan, the film's anti-hero and protagonist, with Benjamin Walker as his closest ally-turned-enemy-angel Michael.  Djimon Hounsou would play Abdiel, the angel of death, while Casey Affleck would step into the role of the angel Gabriel.  On the mortal side, Diego Boneta was set to play Adam alongside Camilla Belle as Eve.

Legendary Pictures is looking to have production underway in the spring or summer of 2012, but it's unknown just how the delay will impact the commitments of the cast.

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