Legendary Pictures is in talks with Benjamin Walker to join Paradise Lost, playing the role of the archangel Michael in the Alex Proyas-directed action epic about the battle between good and evil, inspired by the John Milton poem.

Bradley Cooper is attached to play Lucifer. After being cast out of Heaven, Lucifer mounts an army that battles the forces of good. Paradise Lost is likely to be 3D with soaring set pieces.

Alex Proyas discussed the project with Deadline:

"It's not just armies battling in an epic war," Alex Proyas said. "This is an adventure about the origins of good and evil after Lucifer's rebellion gets him cast out of Heaven and leads to a struggle with his brother archangel over the soul of mankind, starting with Adam and Eve. That is the scope of the narrative here, and we've tried to say as faithful as possible to Milton's text, particularly its focus on Lucifer's evolution and the birth of evil. It's a family saga, about a group of brothers, two in particular, who are on divergent paths, and Lucifer's feelings of betrayal by his father and family that forge his descent into evil."

"I've sometimes thought that only an insane person would want to make this movie, because it's visually audacious and has to live up to a classic poem that is so beloved," Alex Proyas said. "I don't think the visuals could have been done justice until now, which is the great fun of being a film director in this modern age of visual effects. Despite all those possibilities, the characters are what's most important. His deal isn't closed yet, but I think there's a wonderful duality about Ben's persona, this combination of great strength and perfect innocence that works so well for Michael. And Bradley is the most charming guy you'll ever meet, with this extraordinary charisma. Lucifer was the brightest and smartest of the archangels, and even as he descended into evil and evolved into Satan, he's not just some black-and-white villain. Bradley brings extraordinary depth to that journey."

Production will begin in January in Sydney.