When I was in Budapest last August visiting the set of Don’t Breathe, I got the opportunity to speak with director Fede Alvarez about the status of the poem-to-film adaptation of Dante’s Inferno, a project that was announced nearly three years ago. Since we hadn’t heard any major updates, I decided to get something straight from Alvarez himself!
“I was working on that till the last second until I left for this movie. And we’re still working on it. It’s a big challenge. It’s a huge movie,” Alvarez told me. He’s not wrong, by a long shot. The story of Dante being walked through the Nine Circles of Hell by the poet Virgil is filled with some of the most imaginative and terrifying descriptions of the underworld ever put to paper, or any other medium for that matter.
Originally, the movie was supposed to be an adaptation of EA’s 2010 horror-themed action/adventure game Dante’s Inferno, which was loosely based on the original novel by Dante Alighieri. Alvarez spoke about the idea of adapting the game, even though he’s never played it.
“I think Universal bought the rights for the game, which I’ve never played. I don’t really know much about it. Then when I came onboard, I was like, “We should make a movie about the poem, not about the game. The game is fine, but it’s something better behind it.” And we went back to that and we started developing the script based on that.”
The challenges that Alvarez is facing with the project are both the scope of the film and, interestingly enough, simply the idea of how easily it is recognized.
“…a lot of the story, a lot of the script is…just now we’re still trying to find the way to do it for a big audience that it’s not just too big and it becomes impossible. Because, again, for me it’s no doubt; it’s the title. It’s ‘Dante’s Inferno’. Who doesn’t know what that is? But the younger audience may go like, “Dante who?” So that’s the challenge right now, to figure that out.”
Alvarez’s latest film Don’t Breathe comes out August 26th.