A few weeks ago it was reported that the shortlist for the lead role in director Timur Bekmambetov(Wanted) and producer Tim Burton (Alice in Wonderland)'s adaptation of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter was down to six finalists. That list quickly became five after Justified star Timothy Olyphant denied that he was testing for the part.
That left us with Adrien Brody, James D’Arcy, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Josh Lucas and Benjamin Walker as the five candidates who could bring to life the anti-vampire variant of the 16th President of the United States. Of the five, the actor with the most Presidential acting experience got the Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter title gig: Ben Walker.
Benjamin Walker, who's coming off a lead role as another U.S. President in the Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson stage play, made lots of headlines last year when he was cast as Hank McCoy/Beast in Matthew Vaughn's X-Men: First Class. He was chosen for the key role but later stepped away - there was some controversy about the studio not wanting him after signing him due to his age.
Walker's name is not known to mainstream moviegoing audiences (yet) but he's now being sought after for key roles such as this and Fox is seemingly planning to surround him with bankable stars. Previously, Inception star Tom Hardy was offered the role of Henry Sturges, a friend of a teenage Lincoln who happens to be a vampire. Sturges teaches Lincoln how to hunt and combat other vampires to avenge his mother's death. With Hardy signing on as Bane in Nolan's next film, The Dark Knight Rises, there may be a much smaller chance of signing for Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.
What can we expect from the genre mash-up in terms of style and tone? We spoke with author Seth Grahame-Smith last summer while he was still writing the adaptation:
“I’m halfway done with the adaptation now, and we’re playing it just like the book plays it. Straight down the middle. We’re not going to wink at the audience. There’s going to be nothing cutesy about it. It’s going to be absolutely vicious and historically accurate as much as possible. We want this to feel like a bio-pic that just happens to have these amazing, gory sequences in it.”
That's the right way to do this. Play it straight and let the concept sell itself.
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter will arrive in 2D and 3D theaters on June 22nd, 2012.