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The Pale Blue Eye - What We Know So Far

Christian Bale's next project, "The Pale Blue Eye," is finally gaining some momentum. In June 2021, according to Deadline, "The Pale Blue Eye" added a new (and very familiar) star to round out its lead duo, of which Bale is one-half. 

"The Pale Blue Eye" is a historical fiction mystery adapted from Louis Bayard's 2006 novel of the same name. Scott Cooper, the director behind "Antlers," "Hostiles," and "Out of the Furnace," will direct the feature film adaptation in addition to writing the script. "The Pale Blue Eye" has been a passion project for the "Antlers" director since the novel was released. In fact, Cooper has been attempting to get Bayard's novel to the big screen for over a decade: the first report on the director's intentions to helm the adaptation emerged via The Wrap all the way back in January 2011.

After simmering on the back burner for more than a decade, "The Pale Blue Eye" finally started to take shape earlier this year. In March, Deadline reported that Netflix struck a worldwide release deal for the very hefty sum of $55 million — a sign of the streamer's faith in this movie to attract a sizable viewership. This acquisition news, coupled with the exciting casting news, means it's about time we take a closer look at "The Pale Blue Eye" and take stock of what we know so far about the project.

Keep reading to learn more about the release date, cast, and plot of "The Pale Blue Eye," coming soon to Netflix.

What is the release date of The Pale Blue Eye?

No official release date has been set for "The Pale Blue Eye," but it doesn't mean we can't give a ballpark estimate of when this movie will hit Netflix. 

Even though we don't have a filming start date for "The Pale Blue Eye," if casting news is emerging now, it's likely the project could be eyeing a late 2021 filming start date. This filming start date is also likely because the two stars of "The Pale Blue Eye" have wrapped on their other filming commitments. For Bale, this means he's already finished with work on "Thor: Love and Thunder" as well as an upcoming, still-untitled David O. Russell project. As for Melling, he's already wrapped on upcoming features "Please Baby Please" and the Joel Coen's "The Tragedy of Macbeth." This means Bale and Melling are able to going into preparation mode for "The Pale Blue Eye" until filming starts. 

If cameras do indeed get rolling in late 2021 — or even early 2022, depending on how scheduling pans out for Cooper and co. — it's possible "The Pale Blue Eye" could release on Netflix in late 2022 or early 2023. Since Netflix is not forced to compete with studios to secure a prime theatrical release date because it can release content right onto its platform at any time, it also has great latitude in choosing when to release "The Pale Blue Eye." Given that this feature will be a mid-size, semi-prestige release for the streamer, "The Pale Blue Eye" will likely be given a Friday release date, to ensure maximum viewership in its first days on Netflix.

Who is in the cast of The Pale Blue Eye?

The pre-production process for "The Pale Blue Eye" is starting off strong thanks to the casting of two very capable actors — Bale and Harry Melling — to play the leads at the center of this story. Bale was the first actor secured for "The Pale Blue Eye", as Deadline first reported in February of this year. "The Dark Knight Rises" actor will play Augustus Landor, a former New York City detective who is pulled out of retirement to investigate a murder. This is Bale's third time working with Cooper, following previous collaborations on 2013's "Out of the Furnace" and 2017's "Hostiles". 

As previously mentioned, "Harry Potter" alum Harry Melling officially joined "The Pale Blue Eye" in June 2021, also reported by Deadline. Melling will play a fictional version of the famed 19th-century poet and author Edgar Allan Poe. But, rather than play Poe as the older and more haunted man we've come to know through the years, Melling will be playing Poe as he was in his early 20s. Melling's casting in "The Pale Blue Eye" is reminder that this star has been on a serious hot streak recently. Despite Melling working fairly consistently since the "Harry Potter" franchise ended, he's been seen in numerous projects over the last year or so, popping up in HBO's "His Dark Materials" and big Netflix hits "The Old Guard," "The Devil All the Time," and "The Queen's Gambit."

So far, Bale and Melling are the only stars attached to "The Pale Blue Eye," but more casting details should emerge as the project nears its filming start date.

What is the plot of The Pale Blue Eye?

"The Pale Blue Eye" will bring viewers back to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1830. Per Goodreads' summary of Bayard's novel, the mysterious and shocking death of a young cadet on the grounds of West Point leads to Augustus Landor, a retired New York City police detective with the necessary expertise and enough feelings of restlessness to put his retirement on pause, to investigate. As Landor's investigation around West Point goes on, he finds that he has an eager and interested assistant in the form of another young cadet in residence at the U.S. Military Academy: Edgar Allan Poe. Poe has the kind of reasoning skills and knowledge of the macabre that Landor needs to figure out the how's and why's of this murder mystery. But, their partnership could risk falling apart as they get closer to the truth behind the murder.

Both Bayard's novel and "The Pale Blue Eye" movie focus on a unique (and very true) period of the actual Poe's life when he was enlisted in the army (via U.S. Army Corps of Engineers). Poe joined the army at 18 in hopes he could settle the gambling debts he racked up at the University of Virginia. Just a few years later, in 1830, he was able to secure an appointment at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. During this period of his life, Poe was also getting his writing career off the ground, but would rise to prominence after leaving the army. As such, "The Pale Blue Eye" provides a unique opportunity to see Poe pre-fame (or infamy, depending on who you ask). 

"The Pale Blue Eye" is coming soon to Netflix.