Ben Walker has been set by Timur Bekmambetov to play the lead role in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, the 20th Century Fox adaptation of the Seth Graham-Smith novel that’s being produced by Bekmambetov, Tim Burton and Jim Lemley. Deal was just locked. Walker, who most recently starred on stage in Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, has been on the short list for a macho role, most recently the Beast in X-Men: First Class. Walker had been the rumored favorite for days, after testing with Benjamin Walker, James D’Arcy, Adrien Brody, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, and Josh Lucas. He’s repped by WME and Inspire Entertainment.
The 3D project has been one of the hotter ones in Hollywood after 20th Century Fox’s Emma Watts and Peter Kang grabbed it after an auction that pitted Fox against Sony, Paramount, Universal and Summit. It was a fully fleshed out package, as Bekmambetov, Burton and Lemley used their own money to option the book, and get a script by the author. Grahame-Smith’s novel re-imagines Lincoln’s life as an axe-throwing, skilled killer of bloodsuckers, an obsession that dates back to the death of his mother as the hands of vampires. Lincoln vents his wrath on the vampires and their slave-owning protectors. The film was sold with a $69 million budget, but a first dollar gross ask just north of 25% (though insiders said it didn’t end up that high when the deal was made). Fox will release the film June 22, 2012.