Netflix has reportedly acquired The Pale Blue Eye, a highly-anticipated thriller starring Christian Bale. The movie is based on a novel by the same name written by Louis Bayard. Bale will play the hero — a veteran detective trying to solve a series of murders within the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1830.
According to a report by Deadline, Netflix spent about $55 million to make The Pale Blue Eye a Netflix original film. It purchased the movie at the European Film Market (EFM), and may have broken a spending record in doing so. The mystery movie is expected to be worth it, backed up by a popular book, a connection to Edgar Allen Poe and director Scott Cooper, as well as Netflix's current string of successes in the crime drama genre.
Bale plays Detective Augustus Landor in the movie, faced with the case of a gruesome murder on the West Point campus. He is under pressure to catch the culprit quickly when a cadet is found hanging by the neck with his heart removed. He soon finds a willing ally in a young cadet named Edgar Allen Poe.
Poe has not yet been cast in the movie, nor has anyone besides Bale. Bale is also listed as a producer on the movie, along with Birdman's John Lesher and Cross Creek's Tyler Thompson. Cooper is both directing and writing the screenplay adaptation of Bayard's novel.
The Pale Blue Eye was published in 2007, and delighted literature fans with its depiction of a young Poe. The character is described as "moody," with a little too much fondness for alcohol. By this time in his life, Poe has already published two books of poetry, and his personal life is already mired in mystery as well.
The movie is likely to be a perfect vehicle for Bale, who is known for sinking deeply into his characters. Cooper is an actor himself, and so is a good fit for Bale's style, while the movie can rely on the tight narrative structure of Bayard's novel to guide its path. Cooper's other directorial projects include Black Mass in 2015 and Antlers, which premieres later this year.
Still, the most important factor in making this movie a success will likely be the casting of Poe, one of the most unique figures in all of American literature. It is not clear when details like this might be made public.