Bradley Cooper: The Mother of All Hangovers!
In the New York Times "Arts Beat" for July 20th (2011), Dave Itzkoff informs us (posting under the title "Bradley Cooper Going Down Under -- Way Down Under -- for 'Paradise Lost' Film") that Bradley Cooper will be taking on the role of a character with the greatest hangover of them all, that extreme Byronic Hero, the fallen angel Satan, who awakens after his first indulgence with the most potent Spirit of them all, and feels like Hell:
. . . lasting painGod . . . I know the feeling well -- or rather, unwell -- though I've not overindulged like that in 16 years, and then merely by accident at a party thrown by my wife for her students in Germany, a gaggle of foreigners from Eastern Europe, mainly, and we all drank too much wine, so much in my case that I awakened late the next morning, unable to rise from my bed, capable only of casting round my "baleful eyes," witnessing "huge affliction and dismay."
Torments him; round he throws his baleful eyes
That witness'd huge affliction and dismay
Mixt with obdurate pride and stedfast hate:
At once as far as Angels kenn he views
The dismal Situation waste and wilde,
A Dungeon horrible, on all sides round
As one great Furnace flam'd, yet from those flames
No light, but rather darkness visible
Serv'd onely to discover sights of woe,
Regions of sorrow, doleful shades, where peace
And rest can never dwell, hope never comes
That comes to all; but torture without end
Still urges, and a fiery Deluge, fed
With ever-burning Sulphur unconsum'd . . . [PL 1.55-69]
Thomas H. Luxon, ed. The Milton Reading Room, July 2011
But enough about me, let's read instead of the proposed Itzkoff film:
Having returned from a humid if lucrative trip to Bangkok (to shoot the smash summer comedy "The Hangover Part II") with all of his digits intact, Bradley Cooper is headed to another sweltering location for his next movie -- and we don't mean Australia.Fig leaves and animal skins are all that'll be needed for the first couple, and these accoutrements only in postlapsarian times.
Mr. Cooper will portray Lucifer, the fallen angel turned ruler of Hell, in a film version of Milton's "Paradise Lost," The Associated Press reported. The original epic, you surely recall, told the story "of man's first disobedience, and the fruit of that forbidden tree" that was used by Satan to tempt Adam and Eve away from God, and famously sought to "justify the ways of God to men." While the blind Milton had to dictate his poem to secretaries, the ways of the film industry are a little different: Australian government officials announced on Wednesday that the special-effects-heavy "Paradise Lost" movie would be directed by Alex Proyas, the director of big-budget action features including "I, Robot" and "Knowing," and would be filmed largely at the Fox Studios in Sydney, with some financial incentives from the government of New South Wales.
"Had we not done this it would have been opportunity lost, not 'Paradise Lost,'" said Andrew Stoner, the acting premier of New South Wales, in a not particularly Miltonian turn of phrase. Casting for Adam and Eve wasn't immediately announced, but one assumes that costumes won't be a problem.
But the malingering question -- hungover as it may be -- is: Will this film's nudity strike audiences as 'pornographic'?
That might actually be good for great literature, stimulating an upsurge in sales of Paradise Lost.