Friday, July 22, 2011

Bradley Cooper: The Mother of All Hangovers!

Bradley Cooper
(Image from Wikipedia)

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 pain
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
God . . . 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."

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.

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.
Fig leaves and animal skins are all that'll be needed for the first couple, and these accoutrements only in postlapsarian times.

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.

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At 7:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Will this film's nudity strike audiences as 'pornographic'?"


If which of President Obama's team is to be next to jump ship to try her hand at acting.

The rumor is the role of Eve has been offerred to Janet Napolitano.

Now. About that hangover...


At 7:34 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Just imagining that is hangover enough . . .

Jeffery Hodges

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At 9:25 AM, Blogger The Red Witch said...

Philip Pullman's Golden Compass got a few people reading Milton, too.
I have to wonder if it is not Milton's latent Arianism that has made people uncomfortable rather than his portrayal of Satan. After all, if Satan was not a 'worthy foe' would the Son's triumph over him be as glorious?

At 10:36 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Most readers don't even notice Milton's Arianism. I didn't until it was pointed out to me, and I wasn't convinced until I read his theological writings.

People seemed more worried about the charismatic figure of Satan.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 11:34 PM, Blogger The Red Witch said...

True but I wonder if, since Milton was rather subtle, there were other ideas expressed in the poem (such as angels having sex in Book VIII) that people felt discomfort about without fully realizing what was making them uncomfortable. And so they blame it on the portrayal of Satan. I wonder how much Blake's statement on that account has influenced people's view on Satan's heroism as well.

At 5:49 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

I don't know the answer to that. That'd get into the psychology of reader-reception theory, about which I know too little.

Jeffery Hodges

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