Oscar-winner and occasional caped crusader Christian Bale is reuniting with Hostiles and Out of the Furnace director Scott Cooper for the historical thriller The Pale Blue Eye. Bale will headline the film, with Cooper directing his own script adapted from the 2006 novel of the same name by Louis Bayard.
As reported by Deadline, Bale will portray a seasoned detective investigating a series of murders at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point in 1830. His character is assisted in his investigation by an intelligent and eager young cadet named Edgar Allan Poe. (Yes, that Edgar Allan Poe.) Cooper explained his inspiration behind the project in a statement to Deadline:
“Even though Edgar Allan Poe was born in Boston and died, delirious, in Baltimore, the majority of his life was spent in Virginia, my home state. So I grew up with his presence. He bequeathed us the detective genre, and he’s still such a presence in our culture, with every horror, mystery and science fiction writer indebted to Poe. This is my attempt at a large-canvas whodunit, with a serial killer at its center. I want to make films that push me into a different, maybe uncomfortable space, but I am glad to have Christian go there with me. I’ve wanted to make this for over a decade and fortunately for me, Christian has perfectly aged into the lead character. He was far too young when I first thought of making this. Films are meant to happen at the right time. Christian is always in high demand, but to be able to make this with him will be such a joy for me.”
A gothic 19th century murder mystery seems like a good fit for Cooper, who has directed a series of grim thrillers over the past few years, including his most recent moody horror film Antlers. And Christian Bale playing an old-timey detective appeals to a sensibility I wasn’t even aware I had. The Pale Blue Eye could wind up being the season of True Detective we were all hoping for when we tuned in to watch Colin Farrell in a bolo tie. Let’s just hope it turns out better than The Raven.