From “The Hang Over, Part II” to Paradise Lost?

As I mentioned in my opening post to this blog, a film adaptation of Paradise Lost is currently in pre-production. I am still very ambivalent about this cinematic endeavor: while there is evidence to suggest that Milton originally thought his work meant for the stage (the original version was in 10 books, easily translated into a 5 act play), much of the poem is concerned with how the celestrial cannot be communicated through refernece to the senses. As Raphael responds to Adam’s request for him to recount events otherworldly:

High matter thou enjoin’st me, O prime of men,

Sad task and hard; for how shall I relate

To the human sense th’invisible exploits

Of warring spirits?  (V. 563-66)

Raphael is conveying here the difficutly in communicating that which is immaterial to a being whose thoughts are materially based. Milton subtly communicates to us a warning not to read the poem literally but appreciate the metaphors used to describe the heavenly war, which even fall short. (Makes the decision to shoot the film in 3-D even more egregious.)

At any rate, according to an article on Salon.com, there is a tentative frontrunner for the part of Satan, Bradely Cooper.  Regarding  Cooper’s physical attributes, this is actually a great choice: while being ripped, Copper has rather an impish quality about his good looks.

Acting-wsie, though, I am not sure that he is ready to pull off the tragic hero role. His body of work so far has been comedic – I remember him first as the stereoptyped misogynist jock who loses the girl in “Wedding Crashers” (2005).  In his breakout role as Phil in “The Hangover” (2009), I saw a bit of the tempter figure. But I am concerned if he will be able to pull off the grandiose, baroque arch-rebel  to deliver Miltonic verse such as “The mind is its own place, and in itself/ Can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven” or “Better to reign in hell than serve in heaven” (I.254-55 and 262).

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About Anthony Funari

Hi, thanks for taking time to stop by my blog, Renaissnace Matters. So here's a little bit about me . . . I am student, scholar, reader, writer, teacher, and general enthusiast about the European Renaissance, a.k.a the Early Modern period. In May 2010, I graduated with my doctorate in English Literature from Lehigh University, focusing my dissertation on the literary reaction to the Scientific Revolution. I currently have an article in the recent issue of Early English Studies (EES). Also, keep an eye out for my forthcoming book through Palgrave MacMillan, Francis Bacon and the 17th-Century Intellectual Discourse.
This entry was posted in Book Reviews, Why the Renaissance matters and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to From “The Hang Over, Part II” to Paradise Lost?

  1. Gabs says:

    I am personally not a huge fan of Bradley Cooper. All his characters are jerk faces, so I have the tendency to think he is also a jerk face. Don’t forget that he appeared in the A-Team, and more recently, Limitless (in which they cast him as the cool guy is a cool, slick movie. Or what tried to be cool and slick. And still didn’t like his character).

  2. Cheryl says:

    It’s an extreme shame that such a young, inexperienced actor should be cast to play one of the world;s most powerful, compelling fictional characters.

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