By Benjamin Wright | The Playlist October 24, 2011 at 7:02AM
This may be one of those rare occasions when a thespian jumps from Shakespeare to Milton, and it’s not all that big of a deal. That’s because the Shakespeare and Milton work in question are two big budget studio films with CGI-loving directors at the helm, and in the former’s case it’s more of an unraveling of the lore surrounding William Shakespeare than an adaptation.
Variety reports that “Anonymous” actor Sam Reid is set to make the move from deciphering the truth of Shakespeare’s writing credits in disaster driven director Roland Emmerich’s film, to an action-heavy take on John Milton’s poem “Paradise Lost.” “The Crow” and “Dark City” director Alex Proyas is behind the camera on this one, with Bradley Cooper already set to fill the role of a mo-capped Lucifer, and a slew of other talent including Djimon Honsou as Abdiel, the angel of death, along with Casey Affleck as the heavenly Gabriel, God’s noted messenger and angel. Camilla Belle will be Eve, with Callan McAuliffe as Uriel, one of seven archangels.
The film, which is set to release in late 2013, will follow the war in heaven between archangels Michael and Lucifer. Michael, who’s being played by Benjamin Walker, is warned by Reid’s character Raphael that Lucifer is an archangel who can’t be redeemed.
If all of that sounds sort of bewildering to you, don’t worry, because we feel the same way. While Milton’s epic poem is a time tested literary classic, it’s easy to imagine that Proyas will bring all the apocalyptic subtlety of his picture “Knowing” to this battle of archangels in heaven. While Reid is certainly a talented actor, as he proved in his acclaimed performance as Prince Henry in the 2010 Channel 4 telepic “The Taking of Prince Henry,” he should be thankful he’ll most likely be a side character in this mess. It’s harsh to criticize a movie that’s not even out of production yet, but when you have a virtual stable of writers (a total of five credited), a director who seems more interested in technology than storytelling, and a cast of big name talent who may just be dropping by for a paycheck, it starts to feel as if this is all just being cobbled together to make a few bucks. Despite the fact that this film sounds as if it could form a great parody trailer in front of “Tropic Thunder,” we’ll have to wait and see how Reid and company turn out come late 2013.