By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist December 12, 2011 at 10:55PM
So, just how worried are big studios these days about spending lots and lots of money on risky projects? Well, just ask Sony, which is still smarting from the "Men In Black 3" fiasco, and pushed Roland Emmerich's start and release date for "Singularity" back by months in order to get the script in the best shape it can be. And then there was that whole "The Lone Ranger" thing with Disney, which strong-armed the filmmakers to bring down the cost or else not make the movie at all. And now, the same is happening over at Warner Bros. With a big budget, star-studded, mo-cap, 3D adaptation of "Paradise Lost" set to begin filming in weeks, Aussie film crews are receiving a lump of coal in their stocking this year.
Deadline reports that the studio has put the movie on hold for now as Legendary Pictures dudes Thomas Tull and Jon Jashni will continue to develop the project, namely to try and whittle down the $120 million budget and get the script in better shape. So just to emphasize, the project hasn't been cancelled. "Paradise Lost" was set to be helmed by Alex Proyas, with Bradley Cooper to play Lucifer, Djimon Honsou as Abdiel the angel of death, along with Casey Affleck as the heavenly Gabriel, God’s noted messenger and angel. Camilla Belle was set to play Eve, with Callan McAuliffe as Uriel, one of seven archangels.
Production had been moving far along, and it was only last week that Cooper was showing Empire a behind the scenes video of him in his mo-cap outfit, as he explained that he was getting ready to move to Australia for a few months of the shoot (kind of interesting that WB waited until he was back from promoting "The Hangover Part II" overseas before dropping the ax). An extensive (and probably very expensive) schedule was set up that included 20 weeks of pre-production, eight weeks of principal photography and 72 weeks of post-production. The film was always slated for a tentative 2013 release, and perhaps that will still stick but it's hard to imagine that Proyas' approach will be kept. We can only imagine that much of the cost was coming from the extensive cost a mo-cap/3D movie would entail. This isn't like "The Lone Ranger" where you tinker with the script and maybe trim a couple of ambitious sequences-- if WB is looking to scale back the cost, we could be looking at an entirely new re-think on the approach.
No word yet on if/when this movie might get going, but it's a bummer for Cooper who has now seen two high profile projects hit the skids this year with "Paradise Lost" joining "The Crow." However, it does open up his calendar a bit, so it'll be interesting to see if he takes the opportunity to jump into something else. So scratch this big budget movie off the list for now, with lots to come we're sure as Warner Bros. attempts to fix this one up into something they can greenlight.