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James McTeigue Talks His Edgar Allan Poe Movie ‘The Raven’
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If you watch any television at all, then you’ve surely seen the trailer for James McTeigue‘s (V for Vendetta) newest film Ninja Assassin about 45 times. After that film has come and gone, McTeigue already has his next project lined up and it will be a fictional story based on the life and works of author Edgar Allan Poe.

What we’ve learned so far is that the movie is called The Raven, and it tells the story of Poe being challenged by a serial killer to solve the murders that are based on his very own works. Most comparisons are to the movie Se7en, but in Poe’s dark and cold 1800s setting. We also know that the movie takes place in Poe’s final days, before his mysterious death at the early age of 40. The movie is written by Hannah Shakespeare and Ben Livingston.

Now comes some new information on the project from the mouth of McTeigue, who spoke to SciFi Wire recently, including what Edgar Allan Poe stories were looked to for inspiration (and likely many gruesome Poe-esque murders) in the movie, and where the casting path is leading toward.

McTeigue lists off many of Poe’s stories that serve as inspiration. They include The Raven, of course, as well as Tell-Tale Heart, Premature Burial, Murders in the Rue Morgue, and The Cask of Amontillado.

In regard to possible actors, it’s made very clear that you won’t see the beautiful Hollywood A-Listers in line for this part. McTeigue is trying to stay as accurate and faithful to Poe as he can, and as you can see in the image, he was not a very pretty man. One would imagine that if he was, his stories would not have been quite as depressing as they are. So that leaves us with gentlemen in their 40s and 50s who are not of the most attractive pedigree as the prime candidates for Poe, but who will it be? I can’t figure many who would fit the part perfectly, but I could see someone like Hugo Weaving maybe snatching the role.

Who do you see as Edgar Allan Poe in The Raven?


  1. Sounds like the Secrete Window flick, my moneys on Poe being the killer.

    Comment by korollocke — November 24, 2009 @ 9:34 pm

  2. It’s Edgar Allan Poe, not Allen

    Comment by whyspell — November 25, 2009 @ 11:00 am

  3. Fixed.

    Comment by Empress Eve — November 25, 2009 @ 12:20 pm

  4. Hugo Weaving is 49; Poe died at age 40. Weaving is also several inches too tall to play the author, who was slight of build. I admit the casting idea amuses me a bit since I am a fan of both, but am not sure this film sounds like a good idea. Poe is often misunderstood as a morose, death-haunted Goth writer because his most popular work is in the horror genre and many elements in his own life were tragic. But Poe wrote horror because it sold, not because it defined him as a human being– he also had a great sense of humor and wrote in many genres. I’m sure the McTeigue film is drawing from the fact that Poe did in some ways create the detective story. But this sounds like Hollywood silliness which will only reinforce hack horror stereotypes about Poe, much as Roger Corman did in the 1960s.

    As for Weaving, he’s often misunderstood as well. He doesn’t in fact work exclusively in scifi/fantasy/horror and prefers Australian independent films. Though he’s good enough to play lead roles in Hollywood films, I don’t think producers find him well known enough to sell a film on his own– Natalie Portman was most prominently featured in the advertising for V for Vendetta. Weaving deserves top billing in a US project, but he’s very picky with scripts. I’d say Johnny Depp is a better physical match for Poe, but he already played a tortured, chemically-addled, loosely historical, Goth-ish detective in From Hell. ;)

    Comment by Else Harbeau — November 25, 2009 @ 3:06 pm

  5. @Else Harbeau

    Very well said. While Poe certainly identified in himself enough sadness/macabre for such stories, his actual identity was far more complex than what is portrayed by popular media. This sort of ignorant fascination really undermines all horror in general. Mainstream audiences have it in their mind that it takes the talent of a truly disturbed individual to create such grim tales when all it really takes is a bit of imagination. The greater public has always found solace in typecasts. Poe was magnificent.

    Comment by Joseph — November 26, 2009 @ 10:16 pm

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