Edgar Allen Poe, the iconic author of some of the 19th century's most haunting literature, is long overdue for a really great big screen tribute. There have been a handful of biopics and Poe-inspired movies over the years—most recently the tepidly-reviewed 2012 drama The Raven—and now, Netflix is working on a fresh take.
Harry Melling, best known for his role as Dudley Dursley in the Harry Potter movies, was just cast in the lead role of Poe. The murder mystery, which is titled The Pale Blue Eye, takes place in 1830 and stars Christian Bale as a veteran New York City detective. Per Deadline, Bale's character is tasked with solving a series of murders at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Poe, a young cadet at West Point who's yet to become a renowned author, teams up with Bale's character on the case. Writer-director Scott Cooper is adapting the movie from Louis Bayard’s novel of the same name.
The synopsis for the novel offers a few more hints about the dynamics of the movie. Bale's character, Augustus Landor, comes across Poe while he's questioning the acquaintances of a murdered cadet. In Poe, he finds "an eager assistant in a moody, intriguing young cadet with a penchant for drink, two volumes of poetry to his name, and a murky past that changes from telling to telling."
If you're struggling to imagine gothic legend Edgar Allen Poe as a West Point cadet, rest assured that this part, at least, is historically accurate. Poe matriculated as a cadet on July 1, 1830, but was dismissed less than a year later— according to World History Project, he deliberately got himself court-martialed, possibly in rebellion against his foster father. Needless to say, the part about Poe working with an NYC detective to solve a string of murders may be less historically accurate.
There's no release date yet for The Pale Blue Eye, but since production is yet to begin, a 2022 launch is most likely.
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