In a preemptive deal, Warner Bros has purchased the original feature pitch Dante’s Inferno from screenwriter Dwain Worrell. Gianni Nunnari’s Hollywood Gang and Akiva Goldsman’s Weed Road will produce it together. The project has the studio excited by its scale and franchise potential. It’s based on the epic love story that is at the core of Dante’s Inferno. Dante descends through the nine circles of hell to save the woman he loves.
No, journalist, it’s based on a video game adaptation of the Inferno. In the actual Inferno, Dante travels through Hell to save his own soul — and he doesn’t meet his love, Beatrice, until the end of Purgatory. She takes him through Heaven to save his soul.
I know, I know, I’m being pedantic. But it’s frustrating to me that the only contact most people will have with Dante and the Inferno is through this film adaptation, which inverts the entire purpose of the narrative.
UPDATE: A reader writes:
Moreover, as I have told people repeatedly, Dante’s Divine Comedy needs to be read completely. Reading just the Inferno is dangerous because it is too easy to see ourselves among the damned,there is no hope here and it will lead you to a twisted perspective. When people ask me about reading Dante, I tell them to read the Comedia in its entirety so that they might find themselves among the penitent and among the saved. Somehow, I doubt that a movie very loosely “inspired by” the Inferno will do more than embitter viewers with the notion of a judgemental, angry God. A few may be inspired to read the original work, though.
YES! I honestly don’t know if it is better to have not read Dante at all than simply to stop with Inferno. There is a reason why it is called the Divine Comedy: comedies have happy endings (as opposed to tragic ones). Would you be able to say that you understood the meaning of the Exodus story if you stopped when Moses and the Hebrews stood at the Red Sea, preparing to cross it? Of course you wouldn’t. You would miss the wandering in the desert (Purgatorio), and the arrival in the Promised Land (Paradiso). The Inferno is a fantastic poem, and a peerless evocation of the power of sin to distort human nature and love — but it is not the whole story. If that’s the only part of the Commedia people encounter, no wonder they think Dante is morbid. — RD]