Paradise Lost: The Movie!
The title refers to the nudity of Adam and Eve, and handling that part of the film would be difficult, especially the first couple's first coupling after they've tasted the big apple. Milton implies that their coupling is rough sex, and though he doesn't get pornographic in his description, he doesn't shy away from presenting it:
As with new Wine intoxicated both
They swim in mirth, and fansie that they feel
Divinitie within them breeding wings [ 1010 ]
Wherewith to scorne the Earth: but that false Fruit
Farr other operation first displaid,
Carnal desire enflaming, hee on Eve
Began to cast lascivious Eyes, she him
As wantonly repaid; in Lust they burne: [ 1015 ]
Till Adam thus 'gan Eve to dalliance move,
Eve, now I see thou art exact of taste,
And elegant, of Sapience no small part,
Since to each meaning savour we apply,
And Palate call judicious; I the praise [ 1020 ]
Yeild thee, so well this day thou hast purvey'd.
Much pleasure we have lost, while we abstain'd
From this delightful Fruit, nor known till now
True relish, tasting; if such pleasure be
In things to us forbidden, it might be wish'd, [ 1025 ]
For this one Tree had bin forbidden ten.
But come, so well refresh't, now let us play,
As meet is, after such delicious Fare;
For never did thy Beautie since the day
I saw thee first and wedded thee, adorn'd [ 1030 ]
With all perfections, so enflame my sense
With ardor to enjoy thee, fairer now
Then ever, bountie of this vertuous Tree.
So said he, and forbore not glance or toy
Of amorous intent, well understood [ 1035 ]
Of Eve, whose Eye darted contagious Fire.
Her hand he seis'd, and to a shadie bank,
Thick overhead with verdant roof imbowr'd
He led her nothing loath; Flours were the Couch,
Pansies, and Violets, and Asphodel, [ 1040 ]
And Hyacinth, Earths freshest softest lap.
There they thir fill of Love and Loves disport
Took largely, of thir mutual guilt the Seale,
The solace of thir sin, till dewie sleep
Oppress'd them, wearied with thir amorous play. [PL 9.1008-1045]
The producer, Vincent Newman, recognizes the problem:
Mr. Newman, by his own account, told the writers he wanted "less Adam and Eve and more about what's happening with the archangels," the battle in Heaven between God's and Satan's armies.
"In Eden there's the nudity problem," he pointed out, "which would be a big problem for a big studio movie."
The focus, however, will be on a Satan clad in military garb, a sort of heroic antihero -- and that's not without its controversial appeal, as Gross reports Stanley Fish noting in a telephone interview:
The depiction of Satan may be a polarizing one among scholars. Some, in line with Romantic poets like William Blake, will want the dark prince to be the hero; others won't be happy unless Satan is a self-deceiving hypocrite, and the story an education in virtue and obedience.
Yet Stanley Fish, author of "Surprised by Sin: The Reader in 'Paradise Lost,'" said in a telephone interview that the filmmakers "could use these two readings of 'Paradise Lost' in a dramatic fashion, as Milton does."
"In the introductory books," he added, "the figure of Satan is presented with a certain kind of heroic glaze surrounding him, but then, as the poem proceeds, Milton quite deliberately, and for some readers unforgivably, insists that you see the terrible emptiness and self-aggrandizing narcissism at the heart of this character. You could pull the audience in by giving them the kind of romantic rebel that is so easy to respond to, and then pull them up short and ask them to re-think the matter and ask them to think about why this figure has such appeal to them."
"It's a 400-some-odd-page poem written in Old English."
That aside, one of Newman's oddest statements is his off-hand remark that the movie will be:
"made with total adherence and respect to any of the three religions' involvement in the story of God, the Devil and the archangels."
Still, as Mr. Newman points out "it's a war movie at the end of the day" -- meaning, forget about Milton's view, explicit in Paradise Lost 9.31-33, that real heroism appears in "the better fortitude / Of Patience and Heroic Martyrdom / Unsung."