If you’re like most people, Bradley Cooper is not necessarily the first actor you might choose to play Lucifer in a grand, epic cinematic telling of Milton’s “Paradise Lost.” Even Cooper, the handsome leading man perhaps best known for his starring role in the “Hangover” movies, conceded as much during the Legendary Pictures Comic-Con International panel Friday afternoon.
But the actor explained that he was excited by the opportunity to depict Lucifer as a sympathetic character — having studied “Paradise Lost” in college, he sees it as an “intimate family story” about two brothers and a father. Of course, that father just happens to be God.
Granted, there was not a lot of thinking small on display during the presentation, which, in addition to “Paradise Lost” showcased Guillermo del Toro’s upcoming “Pacific Rim” and Sergei Bodrov’s “The Seventh Son.” Casts and the directors from the films were present to greet fans and give a very early glimpse into the movies in a conversation moderated by Hero Complex’s Geoff Boucher.
“Paradise Lost” director Alex Proyas said one of the biggest challenges of the project — apart from translating an epic poem into a more traditional narrative — is rendering the elaborate visuals in a new and exciting way, pointing out that it’s only the advancement of moviemaking technology that’s made it possible for the project to even begin to take shape. “This film couldn’t have been made a few years ago,” he said.
Still, he emphasized that it’s the story and characters that will be central to the film in the end and that the creative team is making every effort to remain as faithful as possible to the initial text, bringing in a Milton scholar to help with that effort.
There’s not too much revered historical text to live up to when it comes to Del Toro’s “Pacific Rim,” which is set to go before cameras later this year. The project, written by Travis Beacham, is about giant robots and giant monsters, but the Mexican moviemaker declined to give away too many more details, saying the concept is “something we need to keep in secrecy.” He did add, though, that the film will be grounded in present-day reality, and moved on to introduce his actors — Idris Elba, Charlie Hunnam, Charlie Day — and mentioning Rinko Kikuchi (“Babel”), who was not present but will play the female lead in the movie. (Del Toro cast Day, he said, largely because of the actor’s performance on the cult TV comedy “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.”)
Looking sunny himself in a blue cabana shirt, Oscar winner Jeff Bridges led the presentation for “Seventh Son,” in which he plays a grizzled witch hunter in search of an apprentice (Ben Barnes); actress Alicia Vikander, a self-described “huge fan” of fantasy and science fiction, also stars.
Bridges cited Bodrov’s “Mongol” as one of the reasons he was interested in working with the filmmaker, though he did say that despite a history of special-effects-intensive projects, he usually prefers to act the old-fashioned way. “I like to have costumes and sets… Now, actors wear dots all over their faces and they do everything in post,” Bridges said.
– Gina McIntyre
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