Update: Variety has confirmed that Walker has closed a deal to play Abe Lincoln. Original post below:
Two weeks ago we heard that a number of actors including Adrien Brody, Timothy Olyphant, Josh Lucas, James D’Arcy, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, and Benjamin Walker are all screentesting for the role of a young Abraham Lincoln in 20th Century Fox’s Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Now reports suggest that Walker has emerged as the front-runner, although no offer has been made yet.
Insiders tell Variety that it’s come down to Walker, but caution that no offer has been made and that other thesps are still being considered. Five have screen tested over the last couple of weeks, but the “Kinsey” actor has the inside track.
Walker nearly got his first major role last year when he was up for the role of Beast in X-Men: First Class. The actor had to decide between the movie and his leading role in Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson on Broadway. Walker chose the stage, and Nicholas Hoult was cast in the role instead.
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter will be directed by Wanted director Timur Bekmambetov and is a 3D re-imagining of Lincoln’s life that depicts the 16th president as an axe-throwing, highly accomplished killer of vampires, an obsession of his since those bloodsuckers supposedly took the life of his mother. Taking revenge, Lincoln wreaks havoc on the vampires and their slave-owning protectors.
The project was hot property earlier this year when Bekmambetov and producer Tim Burton were shopping it to studios, but Fox wanted in on the vampire action so badly that when the filmmakers arrived to pitch it the studio had bloody axes and footprints all over the place. It worked.
Apparently the budget stands at $69 million and a release date of June 22nd 2012 has been set, so filming will begin later this year.