It’s easy to become something of a cynic with regard to modern cinema, as studios churn out sequel after sequel of re-hashed notions that barely have a plot. Every once in a while, though, a project will come along that is so brilliantly conceived that it manages to re-kindle that long-diluted love of originality you thought was lost forever. Today is one such day: the project is called Poe Must Die, and the person behind it is the indefatigable Idris Elba.
Planned as a film trilogy, Poe Must Die is an adaptation of the book by the late Marc Olden. The prolific writer of fiction and non-fiction published the novel in 1978, and it has now been optioned by Elba’s Green Door Production Company. Set in the rank grimness of 1840s New York, the story follows a trio of troubled men into a tale of dark magic and demonic destruction. A practitioner of the dark arts, Jonathan is hunting for the Throne Of Solomon – a mysterious artefact that has the power to bestow immortality and control over Lucifer and his minions. Bare-knuckle fighter Pierce James Figg (great grandson of the real James Figg, who is credited with developing modern boxing) is in close pursuit, after Jonathan murdered his family. On the instruction of Charles Dickens, Figg must seek out Edgar Allen Poe, so that the two can prevent Jonathan’s dastardly plans from being realized and save the life of Poe’s loved one in the process.
Poe Must Die is in the very earliest stages of development, and it is therefore not known who will be writing the adaptation, directing the film, or starring in it. The idea of Idris Elba taking one of the three main roles is really quite exciting, though. A Victorian Luther striding through a narrative filled with the forces of darkness is, for many fans, the stuff that dreams are made of. Most exciting of all, though, is the prospect of a new trilogy that does not involve superheroes (as such), robots, or the apocalypse. It seems that Idris Elba is keen to deliver something fresh and interesting to our theatre screens, and we, in the audience, are keen to accept it.