In development for release in late 2013 is a new “action film” version of John Milton’s classic epic poem Paradise Lost (published 1667). The director is Alex Proyas, the producers include Vincent Newman, and the production will film in Australia under the aegis of Legendary Pictures. Paradise Lost tells the story of Adam, Eve, and Satan in the Garden of Eden. The fallen angel Satan is really the main character, and apparently there will be some terrific special effects for the battle scenes between angels and demons.
But naturists and nudists want to know about something very natural, for which no special effects are required: the nudity of Adam and Eve. How will it be portrayed on film? Here is Milton’s description of Satan’s first sight of the “naked Majestie” of Eve and Adam, in Book IV of Paradise Lost:
“Two of far nobler shape erect and tall,
Godlike erect, with native Honour clad
In naked Majestie seemd Lords of all,
And worthie seemd, for in thir looks Divine
The image of thir glorious Maker shon”
|Adam and Eve Drink from the Stream. Gustave Doré (1832-1883)|
A little later on, the description includes the following verses, in which the poet’s voice reiterates explicitly that neither nudity nor genitalia are inherently shameful:
“Nor those mysterious parts were then conceald,
Then was not guiltie shame, dishonest shame
Of natures works, honor dishonorable,
Sin-bred, how have ye troubl’d all mankind
With shews instead, meer shews of seeming pure,
And banisht from mans life his happiest life,
Simplicitie and spotless innocence.
So pass’d they naked on, nor shund the sight
Of God or Angel, for they thought no ill:
So hand in hand they pass’d, the loveliest pair
That ever since in loves imbraces met,
Adam the goodliest man of men since born
His Sons, the fairest of her Daughters Eve.”
Will Hollywood allow full frontal nudity for this “Simplicitie and spotless innocence” without an R rating, or NC-17, or an NR? Perhaps the violence of Satan’s strife will merit an R behind which the nudity issue will disappear; perhaps if there is sustained full frontal nudity of both sexes the most likely rating is the NC-17. But the irony of nudity even needing, in the ratings world, any kind of cautious attention at all, only shows how far indeed we have “fallen” from that lost paradise. Not even über-illustrator Gustave Doré could depict “those mysterious parts” in his work for Milton’s poem (above).
According to Variety, Hollywood Reporter, and SciFiMafia, the confirmed cast includes Bradley Cooper as Satan, Diego Boneta as Adam, and Camilla Belle as Eve, along with Djimon Hounsou (Abdiel), Rufus Sewell (Samael), Casey Affleck (Gabriel), Benjamin Walker (Michael), Sam Reid (Raphael), and Dominic Purcell (Jerahmeel / Moloch).
Special effects and nudity: hmmm…. what do you think, will the film’s Eve and Adam lack belly buttons??? I hope the producers realize they have the opportunity to weigh in on this most navel-gazing of thorny theological questions!