Christian Bale and Scott Cooper might not be the first names that come to mind when people think of actor/director duos, but the two have quietly been building up a bit of a canon together. Having already made Out of the Furnace and Hostiles, Bale and Cooper are now set to collaborate on their third feature, titled The Pale Blue Eye, and it’s got an intriguing premise.
Bale will play a detective who investigates a series of murders that took place in 1830 at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. The spin is that Bale’s detective is helped by a young cadet named Edgar Allan Poe, in the renowned author’s earlier days.
Cooper wrote the script for the film, based on a novel by Louis Bayard.
On paper, the idea brings to mind properties like the maligned John Cusack film The Raven, but Cooper and Bale are very serious-minded artists, so it’s going to be interesting to see how this project pans out.
Cooper has a personal connection to Poe that makes him eager to take on something related to the author, and to reunite with Bale on the project. Speaking to Deadline, the director said, “Even though Edgar Allan Poe was born in Boston and died, delirious, in Baltimore, the majority of his life was spent in Virginia, my home state. So I grew up with his presence. He bequeathed us the detective genre, and he’s still such a presence in our culture, with every horror, mystery and science fiction writer indebted to Poe. This is my attempt at a large-canvas whodunit, with a serial killer at its center. I want to make films that push me into a different, maybe uncomfortable space, but I am glad to have Christian go there with me. I’ve wanted to make this for over a decade and fortunately for me, Christian has perfectly aged into the lead character. He was far too young when I first thought of making this. Films are meant to happen at the right time. Christian is always in high demand, but to be able to make this with him will be such a joy for me.”
It sounds like a real passion project for Cooper, with the shoot planned to start in the fall.
Also set for the fall is the release of Cooper’s long-delayed next picture, the Jesse Plemons and Keri Russell starring thriller Antlers. Bale was last seen getting plenty of awards love for his performance in Ford v Ferrari, and will soon be seen in Thor: Love and Thunder, as well as the next project for another one of his recurring collaborators, David O. Russell.