“We should make sure you make it,” del Toro said. “I will produce it.”
It’s a tantalizing concept, not least because of the pedigree of filmmakers pitching the project. Also despite his critics, Poe is largely credited as being one of the foundational writers of American horror literature, and certainly one of the greatest American poets of the Gothic and Romantic era in the 19th century. He authored many famous works that have endured for nearly 200 years, including short stories and novellas like “The Black Cat,” “The Cask of Amontillado,” “The Pit and the Pendulum,” and “The Masque of the Red Death,” as well as poems like “Annabel Lee,” “The Haunted Palace,” “Lenore,” and “The Raven.” Still… Poe’s checkered military career is often overlooked.
Before finding marginal success as a poet and literary critic in his lifetime, Poe entered the U.S. military under a false identity. He enlisted, in part, to get away from his estranged foster father—his biological father abandoned his family when he was one-year-old and his mother died the year after that. Poe briefly rekindled a relationship with his foster father in Virginia, particularly after Poe was accepted to the elite West Point military academy.
However, Poe’s estrangement from the patriarch soon became permanent with Poe being disowned, and Poe’s literary career finding fledgling success when his anonymous collection of poems, Tamerlane and Other Poems, was published. Already having accrued severe gambling debts, the young Poe lost interest in a military career and decided to pursue writing after he got himself intentionally court-martialed for gross negligence and insubordination.
One imagines Cooper’s take on Poe’s life would be a different affair with “fanciful” encounters involving murders. While playing fast and loose with Poe’s biography for a murder mystery has been done before with the rather rote thriller, The Raven (2012), which starred John Cusack as the tragic writer, one imagines talent like Cooper and del Toro would offer something more substantial.