Hollywood is about to get Old Testament on this shit. Having presumably exhausted comic books, fairy tales and board games as sources of inspiration for their tentpoles, the big studios are going Biblical in search of the next big thing. Francis Lawrence is working on a futuristic take on "Samson and Delilah," Dwayne Johnson and Taylor Lautner are looking to face off as David & Goliath, there are a pair of films about Jewish warrior Judah Maccabee in the works, one of which is from Mel Gibson, and overnight it appeared that Warner Bros is trying to court Steven Spielberg to direct Moses flick "Gods and Kings."
The co-writer of the latter, Stuart Hazeldine, is also behind the script for another giant Bible-themed picture, Legendary Pictures' "Paradise Lost," an effects-heavy, performance-capture-full take on John Milton's epic poem about war in heaven. Alex Proyas, the Australian helmer of "Dark City" and "I, Robot" is directing, and he's assembled quite the eclectic cast, with "The Hangover" star Bradley Cooper playing Lucifer, whose rebellion starts the war, "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" lead Benjamin Walker as Michael, who leads Heaven's army, Djimon Hounsou as Abdiel, the Angel of Death, Casey Affleck as the Archangel Gabriel, and Camilla Belle leading the chase to play Eve, the first woman.
With filming looking to start in Australia before the end of the year, Proyas is filling out his cast, and two new names look likely to come on board. Variety reports that Callan McAuliffe, the 16-year-old Australian actor best-known for playing the best friend role in sci-fi misfire "I Am Number Four," has joined the project as Uriel, one of the seven archangels, who becomes Michael's second-in-command in Heaven's army. The actor's not that well-known at present, but he's got a pretty huge gig coming up, playing the younger version of Leonardo DiCaprio's Jay Gatsby in Baz Luhrmann's new take on "The Great Gatsby."
Meanwhile, there looks to be a strong candidate to play Eve's fellow fig-leaf-wearer Adam, as the trade also states that Diego Boneta, the Mexican actor/singer who has the male lead in next year's star-filled musical "Rock of Ages," is being looked at to play the character, although it doesn't appear that a deal has yet been made. We're in two minds on this one: the potential for something truly spectacular is there in the source material, and some of the casting (Affleck, Hounsou) is promising. But we're not great fans of Roger Ebert-favorite Proyas (even "Dark City" is kind of overrated), Cooper seems like a tough sell as Lucifer, and it's possible that the whole enterprise could turn out to be dumber than a rock. We're still a way off finding out how it'll turn out; the film's so heavy on effects that it won't hit theaters until the end of 2013.