Dante Alighieri’s epic poem about one man’s journey through the landscape of Hell is headed back to the big screen, courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures, with a fresh script penned by Hollywood newcomer Dwain Worrell.
The project is based on a pitch by Worrell, who scripted the 2010 zombie film Walking the Dead (not to be confused with AMC’s The Walking Dead) and the upcoming Amazon Studios thriller The Wall, about an American sharpshooter pinned behind the remains of a crumbling building by an Iraqi sniper. Deadline reports that the film will follow the famed tale of the legendary protagonist as he travels through the nine circles of Hell in order to save the woman he loves.
Penned in the 14th century as the first chapter of a three-part epic poem, Inferno chronicled Dante’s exploration of Hell — divided into nine “circles” based on the various forms of sin — and the creative forms of torment suffered by each type of sinner. In one example, Dante (who chronicles the journey as both author and protagonist) witnesses fortune-tellers whose attempts to see the future through arcane means are condemned to walk through Hell with their heads twisted backward so they’re unable to see what lies ahead of them.
Dante’s guide through Hell in Inferno is the poet Virgil, who helps him cope with the death of his love Beatrice — the event that brought him to the underworld in the first place. The original poem didn’t involve an attempt to “rescue” Beatrice, however, and instead explored the themes of sin, death, and morality through allegory.
There have been numerous big-screen adaptations of Inferno over the years, dating as far back as director Giuseppe de Liguoro’s 1911 silent film, L’Inferno. The 1998 Robin Williams film What Dreams May Come took quite a bit of inspiration from Inferno in its depiction of Hell and its protagonist’s efforts to reunite with his wife in the afterlife.
Interestingly, the still-untitled film isn’t the only project based on Inferno currently in development. Universal Pictures is working on a film based on the 2010 video game Dante’s Inferno, which casts Dante as a Templar Knight battling his way through Hell in order to save the soul of Beatrice. That project has Evil Dead director Fede Alvarez attached after the filmmaker’s successful 2013 remake/reboot of Sam Raimi’s 1981 horror classic.
The report suggests that Worrell’s pitch has the studio excited about the project’s franchise potential.
There’s currently no official timetable for the film to be completed, or for production to begin.