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Overstreet

Paradise Lost

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<img src="http://ArtsAndFaith.com/public/style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/blink.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":blink:" border="0" alt="blink.gif" />

<img src="style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/eek.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid="8O" border="0" alt="eek.gif" />

<img src="style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/ohmy.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":o" border="0" alt="ohmy.gif" />

But... how...?

What will they?

I...

And then there's the issue of...

A magic towel?

Edited by Overstreet

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MattPage   

I'm ignorant and now nothing about Milton's poem.

Pray enlighten me.

I have the feeling I should be blogging it but don't know why.

Matt

PS - Great use of smileys BTW

Edited by MattPage

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Read it.

It's one of the pinnacles of poetry, twelve books of verse worthy of comparison to the works of Shakespeare. It includes the greatest characterization of Satan in all of literature, and the most compelling exploration "Of Man's first disobedience and the fruit/Of that forbidden tree whose mortal taste/Brought death into the world and all our woe."

It was published in 1667. Milton was blind when he wrote it, which makes its fuel for the visual imagination that much more impressive. And his ambition was nothing less than "to justify the ways of God to man."

When I was a freshman at SPU, I signed up right away for the senior Milton course so I could study Paradise Lost, and I remember those classes and those hours of reading like they were yesterday.

Gustav Dore was born to illustrate Paradise Lost... it's full of dramatic scenes of the wild, cosmic scope that he loved to bring to life.

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Russ   

What a weird candidate for adaptation. I wonder what percentage of the poetry he'd end up keeping (or if he'd modify or do away with the poetry). Use of narration (I think he'd have to)? Ending before Paradise Regained?

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stu   

I'll be interested to see how he handles the bit in Book II, 630-790, where Milton describes how Sin emerges from a swelling on the left side of Satan's (fiery) head. Sin and Satan have an affair during the rebellion in heaven, as a result of which Sin gives birth to Death (obviously). And then Death chases and rapes his own mother, Sin, and she gives birth to a host of monsters which guard the gate of hell and periodically crawl back inside her womb to gnaw on her bowels.

That really will be a visual feast.

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I'm simultaneously excited and terrified by this information. There's a rich vein of material for a film to draw from, but I am afraid that it will feel so trivial...

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MattPage   

Thanks Everyone

Stu do you have a hard copy I can add to that mountain of unread books that I'm building?

Matt

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wonder if someone with so few films under his belt as a director is the right choice for an adaptation of this magnitude. I wish Scott well. I WANT him to do well. But this is a huge undertaking, and rather thankless. People will throw tomatoes at the guy no matter what the final product is like.

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I hate to be a cynic, but my initial thought is that this is just too big of a visual feat for Derrickson. With that being said, I could see Gibson doing this, pulling off many stunning visuals, and even having all the poetry recited in a made-up demononlogical sing-song. ::fork_off::

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BethR   

Thanks Everyone

Stu do you have a hard copy I can add to that mountain of unread books that I'm building?

Matt

Do you want a hard copy of a Dore-illustrated Paradise Lost, or will you settle for the text itself? Since it's out of copyright, it is available online in several sites.

The Dartmouth edition is particularly good--includes a helpful introduction and boatloads of footnotes, plus "Research Links" that include two or three illustration sites, which feature illustrations by Dore and William Blake, among others.

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Sundered   

The material is totally unfilmable, unless someone like Godard were to make some Brechtian adaptation of a small segment. Mel Gibson is kind of a cool idea too, actually. Obviously, the film is going to fall leagues and leagues short of Milton, but at least Gibson would have been entertaining.

Derrickson's failure shall be abject and utter.

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The magic towel? The greatest special effect in the Austin Powers saga, the towel that conveniently glides along concealing the superspy's privates in nude scenes? You haven't witnessed this wonder?

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I'm in the camp that a work so resistant to adaptation as Paradise Lost is not worth the attempt. Trying to translate an epic poem into a feature-length motion picture seems like trying to break Humpty-Dumpty and then put him back together again, sans insides. Why not create original material in the same vein? (Yes, I know, the name brings instant box-office appeal - I mean besides that.)

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Well, I have a feeling this is going to be a very, very loose adaptation... and that it won't use much of the actual poetry at all. The best they could do would be to approximate the events as they're described, and to call it a "palimpsest" of the poem, just as the film of The Name of the Rose identified itself as "a palimpsest of the novel."

If they make it clear that this is what they're doing, I don't see a problem with it. It's just a big screen illustrated Creation/Fall/Expulsion story.

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So, open question: if you were making it, what would be your approach to the nudity of Adam and Eve?

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I would employ close-ups of their faces as much and as as creatively as possible, to avoid excessive nudity. But I'd allow nudity from a distance, so as to respect the actors and to avoid the exploitation of the film for pornographic purposes.

More importantly, I would avoid casting the oily musclebound Brad Pitts and skinny Angelina Jolies. I would cast more ordinary-looking man and woman, so that we're reminded that there is a difference between physical beauty and American preoccupations with particular body types.

Strange, but the first actor who comes to mind for Adam is the fellow who plays Sayeed on Lost , and for Eve, someone like the actress who plays Libby on Lost, if you de-glamorized them a bit. She's not your typical Hollywood cover girl, and he's not your typical Hollywood pop idol.

Someone who can really ACT would be preferable to someone who looks like a poster boy. Philip Seymour Hoffman as Adam? Paul Bettany? Adrien Brody? Emily Watson as Eve? Patricia Clarkson? Sarah Polley?

It would also be interesting to cast a husband and wife, like Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick. Or Dermot Mulroney and Catherine Keener.

I mention these names because I assume that Hollywood will refuse Derrickson the option of unknowns.

Edited by Jeffrey Overstreet

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FWIW, as I say at my blog:

Me, I can't help thinking it would be really neat if this film came out around the same time as the movie version of Philip Pullman's
The Golden Compass
, since the '
' trilogy of which it is a part was, in some ways, a response to, or re-working of, Milton's poem. Could be one of those nice coincidences.

I'm interested, indeed very interested, but I can't say I'm enthused, per se -- not yet.

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BethR   

FWIW, as I say at my blog:

Me, I can't help thinking it would be really neat if this film came out around the same time as the movie version of Philip Pullman's
The Golden Compass
, since the '
' trilogy of which it is a part was, in some ways, a response to, or re-working of, Milton's poem. Could be one of those nice coincidences.

I'm interested, indeed very interested, but I can't say I'm enthused, per se -- not yet.

I don't know. Pullman's novels seem more like Milton as interpreted by William Blake, to me--all that "good is evil / evil is good," "knowlege is power," innocence is ignorance/helplessness, restrictive "religion" and general gnosticism. But if the Derrickson project turns out well, it still might be a good counter to a Dark Materials film.

Nevertheless, as I commented at Jeffrey's blog, there's more to Paradise Lost than Satan in hell, so Derrickson has much more to do to convince me that he can bring Milton's masterpiece to the screen.

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It's God vs. Satan. But What About the Nudity?

"AS soon as you started talking about a battle in Heaven, he just couldn't relate," the screenwriter Philip de Blasi recalled.

It was a particularly demoralizing pitch meeting, explained his writing partner, Byron Willinger, because the producer, "this guy who has made some of the most successful blockbusters ever, started looking at his nails, and I don't think he looked away from his nails for the whole 15 minutes."

Then there was the studio executive who, halfway through the pitch, blurted: "Wait a minute. You mean God is God?"

Such were the travails of the writers who traveled from New York to Hollywood in 2004 to hawk their adaptation of "Paradise Lost." . . .

New York Times, March 4

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Then there was the studio executive who, halfway through the pitch, blurted: "Wait a minute. You mean God is God?"

No. He's George Burns.

Oh%20God.jpg

Or better yet: Morgan Freeman.

jim_carrey1.jpg

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