Two Versions of Paradise Lost on the Horizon

Scott Derrickson talks Paradise LostAs seems to happen quite often in this crazy business we report on, two projects based on the same idea are about to battle it out for cinematic supremacy. This time the theme is “paradise”, or more accurately, John Milton’s Paradise Lost.

Back in December, 2008, we heard some early details from Scott (The Exorcism of Emily Rose) Derrickson about his plans to adapt Paradise Lost with Guillermo del Toro for Legendary Pictures and Warner Brothers based on a script by Stu Hazeldine. (In fact, the article was the Story of the Week in my December 6-12, 2008, Weekly Wrap-Up).

Now the news has come down via THR that veteran producer Martin (The Lion in Winter, The Possession of Joel Delaney) Poll has joined with Granite Entertainment and STV Networks to mount an indie version of Paradise Lost that has been gestating for nearly four decades and could enter production as early as the summer. Poll has continually renewed his option on a screenplay written by British author and screenwriter John Collier (who passed away in 1980), which was published in book form in 1973, and seems to mean business now that the following events have taken place:

  • Poll has teamed with producers Hank McCann, Bob Knotek, and Jonas McCord.
  • Philadelphia-based STV Networks — a digital distribution company specializing in Bollywood fare headed by Sridhar Sreekakula, who is seeking to get into theatrical distribution — has come aboard as a co-financier, agreeing to put up half of the film’s projected $30 million-$35 million budget.
  • Arthur Penn declined the directing gig, so the project is out to helmers.
  • Two unknown young actors, David Dunham and Patricia Li Bryan, are on tap to play Adam and Eve as part of a multiethnic cast. The producers hope to land a star to play Satan.
  • Considering the source material does actually contain two very different story arcs — one beginning after Satan and the other rebel angels have been defeated and cast down by God into Hell and the other detailing the temptation and fall of Adam and Eve — it is feasible that both films could move forward without treading on each other’s storylines.

    We’ll have more as further details are clarified.

    Debi Moore

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