STUNNER! Legendary Pictures Postpones January Start Of Alex Proyas-Directed ‘Paradise Lost’

EXCLUSIVE: Legendary Pictures has halted plans to begin production early next year on Paradise Lost, the epic-sized Alex Proyas-directed film about the battle between good and evil that is inspired by the John Milton poem. Bradley Cooper had been set to play Lucifer, Benjamin Walker to play the archangel Michael, and Diego Boneta playing Adam and Camilla Belle Eve, with a host of other actors lined up for the action epic. I’m told that the film isn’t scrapped; rather, Legendary’s Thomas Tull, Jon Jashni and producer Vincent Newman will continue developing it to rework a budget that had passed the $120 million mark by 10% or 15%. The picture has crewed up for an Australia shoot and the talent and below the line is learning about the postponement right now. Films including Moneyball and American Gangster had their plugs pulled within a month of production and bounced back, but it is always a shock when a large film has its start date scratched so close to production, even if it is temporary.

I’m told by insiders that this process is being likened to The Lone Ranger, which Disney had originally scheduled to begin production last fall, until Deadline revealed last August that it had been unplugged abruptly, with Disney threatening to scrap it because the studio feared the budget would turn into a runaway train and could sail past $250 million. Producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Gore Verbinski labored to bring down those costs through changes in the script and they and Johnny Depp made adjustments in their deals to bring the film down to around $215 million. In the case of Paradise Lost, there is so much green screen work and VFX that the budget looked to be getting unwieldy. They will try to rework those costs and possibly get the film into production by the late spring or early summer. Awaiting a response from Legendary Pictures, but several sources have confirmed the postponement.

Comments (19)

  • Wow. That is actually huge news.
    How deflating it must be for everyone involved.
    Sounds like one hell of an epic story, so fingers crossed it makes it over the line.

    Comment by Robert — Monday December 12, 2011 @ 8:35pm PST  
  • Still not seeing Cooper as Satan, but whatever, love to see what they do with this story, one of my favorites

    Comment by mook — Monday December 12, 2011 @ 8:36pm PST  
    • He does have rodent like features. they could play that up.

      Comment by Jason — Tuesday December 13, 2011 @ 10:54am PST  
    • I could see him playing Satan like Pacino did in Devils Advocate, a suave, sinister, suited-up kinda role, but I’m not too sure about playing a CGI’d devil.

      Comment by Morkai — Tuesday December 13, 2011 @ 4:39pm PST  
  • This is unfortunate news, but completely understandable from Legendary’s point of view, $120 million-plus is a heck of a lot of money to spend on a heavy effects-driven adaptation of a 17th century English poem about a pretty intense subject matter that’s almost certain to generate interest and controversy in equal measure! I really hope they sort out the budgetary overruns and get it made without sacrificing any of the movie’s incredible potential- both visual and theological- for this is one movie that could be truly something very special indeed if handled correctly…

    Comment by Northern Star — Monday December 12, 2011 @ 10:19pm PST  
    • Yes…I’m sure the director of I Robot and Knowing will be exploring deep theological questions.

      Either you’re a plant or a poser.

      Comment by Really? — Tuesday December 13, 2011 @ 8:47am PST  
      • I’m pretty sure the director of Dark City is up to the task of exploring deep theological questions.

        He’s a plant? I’d say potted fern, then.

        Comment by Jim the Neighbor — Tuesday December 13, 2011 @ 10:22am PST  
  • Warner Brothers has their own big-budget Bible movies to make ( GODS AND KINGS, the JUDAH MACCABBE project, UNHOLY NIGHT), so why would they want or need Legendary’s Bible movie?

    Legendary isn’t a studio, nor a production company. It’s just a bank.

    Comment by Anonymous — Monday December 12, 2011 @ 10:48pm PST  
    • bank ?

      Comment by bruckey — Tuesday December 13, 2011 @ 3:46am PST  
    • Exactly right. But UNHOLY NIGHT needs a name change, because as it is, it could be interpreted to imply the birth of Christ was the unholy event, and that would stir up a shitstorm in the public. Better they should go with something like WE THREE KINGS or QUEST OF THE MAGI.

      Comment by justsaying — Tuesday December 13, 2011 @ 5:34am PST  
    • Just a bank…? More like laughing all the way to the bank!

      Comment by Ian G — Tuesday December 13, 2011 @ 9:30am PST  
  • Um,like maybe it’s because the script is a static bore.

    Comment by Jack — Tuesday December 13, 2011 @ 12:04am PST  
  • Wow this really sucks. I actually want to see this movie. Seriously I hope the bean counters can work something out because this would be a huge loss. The potential for this could be massive.

    Comment by Alboone — Tuesday December 13, 2011 @ 5:39am PST  
    • it’s pretty tiresome to blame “bean counters” when someone applies economic reality — this is a business, and movies are supposed to make money. Charity is for the Sundance crowd. Legendary has money to invest because they actually try to make money — this is not about the glory or film or fulfilling the artistic vision of the filmmaker — it’s a special effects battle film for 12-24 year old guys.

      Comment by an observer — Tuesday December 13, 2011 @ 10:19am PST  
  • Filmmakers over the decades have tried to make Paradise Lost. I would have said it would have been impossible before seeing “300.” But to depict the epic battle between Satan and the fallen angels and the heavenly hosts of God, it’s going to cost a lot of money or it’s going to look cheezy (like Flash Gordon)! And the religious theme may turn off a lot of people. Also, people have heard the expression, but I doubt anyone has read it since high school (if even then). I certainly would have second thoughts about turning it into a big budgeted film.

    Comment by DanZee — Tuesday December 13, 2011 @ 7:48am PST  
  • Hope it doesn’t collapse like PINKVILLE did a few years ago.

    Comment by CJ — Tuesday December 13, 2011 @ 9:06am PST  
  • I still just can’t believe a John Milton epic poem is becoming a movie. Most people I know don’t have fond recollections of being force-fed Paradise Lost in school. To spend this much money seems counterintuitive.

    Did Beowulf make it’s budget back?

    Comment by Joe B. — Tuesday December 13, 2011 @ 10:36am PST  
  • Thank God. This project was filed under “what the hell are they thinking.” PARADISE LOST directed by Alex Proyas and starring Bradley Cooper? Hopefully, it won’t come back and Milton can rest in his grave. And let’s think about all the good movies that could be made if you divvied up that $120M. The best movies of this year were made for a mere particle of that amount. Hollywood needs to catch up to reality.

    Comment by movietoy — Tuesday December 13, 2011 @ 4:59pm PST  
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