[UPDATE: Timothy Olyphant says he is not testing for this role.]
Born in a rustic log cabin; destined to preside over the bloodiest war on American soil; and capable of wielding an axe like a surgeon while fearlessly decapitating the undead, the famed 16th president of the United States was re-envisoned as a fierce warrior whose weapons are not restricted to words in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. So, who will play this role in the film adaptation?
Bruce Banner from Ang Lee's Hulk (aka Eric Bana) was circling the part last month, but has not yet secured it. Now, six more actors are set to test for the lead role in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, which will be brought to life by director Timur Bekmambetov (Wanted) and producer Tim Burton.
Deadline revealed the names of those who will be screen-testing for the part of vampire-killing Honest Abe over the next few weeks. Their ranks include British stage actor James D'Arcy; Oscar-winner Adrien Brody (fresh off slaying aliens in Predators); another British thespian, Oliver Jackson-Cohen (Going the Distance); Josh Lucas (another Hulk veteran); Timothy Olyphant (I Am Number Four) and Benjamin Walker, who recently finished portraying a different U.S. president in an unusual light in the play Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson.
While Englishman Daniel Day-Lewis is playing Lincoln in Spielberg's straightforward biopic about the politician, it seems slightly more likely that a U.S. born actor will bring the historical figure to life in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. However, Lucas has yet to prove himself as a capable action star - while Brody can at least grow a solid beard and demonstrated in last summer's Predator reboot that he makes for a convincing (if less than spectacular) onscreen warrior.
Olyphant has also battled dangerous creatures before in The Crazies remake and showed off his marksmanship (sans any sort of facial hair - save for his eyebrows) in the Hitman movie - not to mention his memorable turn as the square-jawed sheriff on the HBO western series, Deadwood and his latest fan-favorite role in Justified. Would he perhaps make for an intimidating but regal vampire slayer?
UPDATE: When asked by Collider if he is testing for Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Olyphant said "No, that's not true. I'm not doing that, no. Thanks for asking, but no, that's not true."
Walker is more of a wild card as he's not yet taken on leading man duties in a larger Hollywood tentpole pic before. He played a soldier before in Clint Eastwood's Flags of Our Fathers and his stage role as Andrew Jackson was apparently quite entertaining, if unorthodox. Brits D'Arcy and Jackson-Cohen shouldn't be counted out entirely either, but neither are especially well known in the movie-loving community (the former was approached to appear in X-Men: First Class though).
Brody and Olyphant are arguably the best known names in this group and would bring the most star power to Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. It's the premise that will really sell this $69 million, 3D project to the ticket-buying masses so it's possible that one of the lesser-knowns in this pack (or someone else entirely) will walk away with the lead role at the end of the day.
Who would you like to see play the vampire-killing version of the 16th U.S. president (if only we all had a nickel for every time someone asked us that question...)?
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter will arrive in 2D and 3D theaters on June 22nd, 2012.
Update Source: Collider