Have to hand it to 20th Century Fox, this is probably the best list of potential actors I’ve seen amidst all the “testing for” stories that have become the norm lately. Aside from James D’Arcy, whose work I’m not familiar with, I am an admirer of nearly all the guys in the running to play the titular character in the planned bloody 3-D epic “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter”, based on the novel by Seth Grahame-Smith, who is also penning the script. Deadline reports today that D’Arcy will be testing this week or next, along with Josh Lucas, Adrien Brody, Timothy Olyphant, Benjamin Walker and Oliver Jackson-Cohen.
Following Lincoln throughout his life and keeping every major historical event intact, Grahame-Smith adds one huge twist to the well-known story: Every action Lincoln takes, including starting the Civil War and ending slavery, is acted out of a desire to rid the world of vampires, one of whom killed his mother and his first love. It will be directed by Timur Bekmambetov, produced by Tim Burton and set for release on June 22, 2012.
The only other rumor surrounding this historical re-imagining right now is that Tom Hardy is being pursued for the pivotal role of Henry Sturgess, a vampire ally and something of a mentor for Lincoln throughout his life.
For now, let’s turn our attention to the six men who might become the first ever axe-wielding, demon killing President of the United States.
Oliver Jackson-Cohen is a British up and comer that we’ve had our eye on for the past several months, when he made a charming feature debut in the Justin Long-Drew Barrymore rom-com “Going the Distance” and then played a young hitman in “Faster”. He’ll next be seen in the Anna Faris rom-com “What’s Your Number”, but without a doubt, playing Abraham Lincoln would be a much better direction for him.
Adrien Brody was the youngest Best Actor Oscar winner ever when he won for “The Pianist” at age 29 back in 2003, but his career has been mired with missteps since. He’s been on somewhat of a comeback kick, taking on roles that the public wouldn’t have expected from him, such as last year’s “Predators” reboot, which put him in the role of action hero for the first time.
James D’Arcy has been acting since the 90’s, most in British TV series and mini-series, but also in “Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World” opposite Russell Croew. He’ll next be seen in Madonna’s directorial feature “W.E”, a romantic drama focusing on the affair between King Edward VIII and American divorcée Wallis Simpson. D’Arcy will play Edward opposite Abbie Cornish.
Josh Lucas landed on the scene after playing Reese Witherspoon’s childhood soulmate in “Sweet Home Alabama” but has rarely had a hit since, when potential blockbusters like “Stealth” and “Poseidon” bombed instead. He’ll next be seen in “Lincoln Lawyer” with Matthew McConaughey and Ryan Phillippe.
Benjamin Walker is another rising star we have been and will be keeping an eye on. He had been earning rave reviews starring as another President, Andrew Jackson, in recently closed off-Broadway musical “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson”, and was briefly cast as Beast in “X-Men: First Class” before backstage shuffling caused him to drop out and return to the stage.
Timothy Olyphant has been a staple at playing various villains, bad boys and anti-heroes for years, most recently and prominently on the F/X series “Justified”. He’ll next be introduced to the teen crowd in “I Am Number Four”.
So who’s it going to be? Maybe it’s the influence of “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson”, but Walker seems like a perfect fit to me, and he would easily be able to play Lincoln at all ages. Olyphant would also be great, if not for the fact he is a bit older.