Josh Rottenberg
July 22, 2011 AT 04:00 AM EDT

If you thought Bradley Cooper played jerks in Wedding Crashers and the Hangover movies, just wait for Paradise Lost. In director Alex Proyas‘ big-budget, effects-driven adaptation of John Milton‘s epic poem, Cooper will play the granddaddy of all bad guys: Lucifer himself. ”I’m very excited,” Cooper told EW while promoting the July 19 Blu-ray release of Limitless. ”I studied that poem at Georgetown, and I fell in love with that character. Satan is very compelling. You understand his argument. Hopefully we’ll be able to maintain the integrity of that.” How exactly do you make a Hollywood tentpole movie out of a 17th-century blank-verse poem about the fall of man? By focusing on the action — particularly the battle in heaven between the Archangel Michael and his traitorous brother, Lucifer — and using the latest in motion-capture digital effects. ”That technology is evolving exponentially by the minute, so where they were when they did Avatar as opposed to where they are now is almost different worlds,” says Cooper, who begins filming Paradise Lost in October. So how will his character look on screen? ”I think it is going to look like me,” he says, laughing. ”I’m not sure what that says about how satanic I look.”

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