The movie shot in Budapest, Hungary and Belgrade, Serbia under the working title "The Raven" -- it now goes by "Untitled Raven Project" -- will hit theaters on March 9, 2012, according to Relativity Media (distributor of the current hit, "Limitless").
In December, coproducer Marc D. Evans described the movie, starring John Cusack as Edgar Allan Poe, as a sweeping, popular historical suspense film. "It's in the same genre as films like 'Sherlock Holmes' or 'Sleepy Hollow'," he told me. "Not quite as dark and serious as 'From Hell,' but more commercial, with a little dose of 'Se7en': You follow a killer through a series of crimes, and you're rooting for someone to save the day, save the city…"
The film costars Luke Evans (below) as a Baltimore police inspector and Alice Eve (right) as Poe's fiancee.
The "Sherlock Holmes" analogy fits because the movie rests on Poe's pioneer status as a mystery-writer who composed seminal detective stories before Arthur Conan Doyle created Holmes. Evans said, "That's really a great piece of all this. Here is one of the first mystery detective thriller writers and he's basically put into the exact situations that he's written about in all these stories. That's what immediately hooked us. It's been fun to play with that."
Ben Livingston and Hannah Shakespeare wrote the script as a team: "They're kind of playing with factual history. It's set in the last few days of Poe's life, when he was unaccounted for, for some period of time, before he turned up incoherent and died shortly after. Our story takes that and accounts for what happened. It starts with his return to Baltimore in this period. About the same time a series of killings starts, and the killer is using Poe's stories as inspiration. So Poe is first a suspect and must work with a Baltimore police inspector to solve a series of crimes, not just to clear to clear his name, but because his fiancée is kidnapped. We took a little bit of artistic license!" (For my full interview with Evans, click here.)
Luke Evans photo by Max Major; Alice Eve photo by Jemal Countess