Abraham Lincoln: Which actor should play him, in vampire-hunter form?
"Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" -- the film adaptation of the novel by Seth Grahame-Smith -- has officially entered the pre-production phase at Fox, Variety has reported. The film -- which, like the book, reimagines key elements of American history with a lot of vampires thrown into the mix -- will be released in 3D and already is slated for a 2012 release, ensuring that we'll still be talking about vampire movies two years from now.
The news has prompted a round of online opinions about who should tackle the part of a bloodsucker-battling President Lincoln. Entertainment Weekly already has put in a bid for Johnny Depp, which -- with Tim Burton producing -- seems like an entirely likely prospect. But let's pause for a moment and consider who else might bring a certain murderous dignity to the part.
As Abe Lincoln ... Ralph Fiennes: He's not American, but surely that hardly matters. Fiennes has the gravitas to take on a presidential role as well as the dark-side credibility -- courtesy of his portrayal of Voldemort in the "Harry Potter" films -- to bring out Lincoln's vamp-killing alter ego.
Height: At 5'11, he's a little shy of Lincoln's reported 6'4. But some camera trickery could easily solve that.
Vampire slaying experience: None, that we know of. But he's Voldemort! So his resume includes plenty of boy-wizard hunting, murder and a general desire to smite others.
As Abe Lincoln ... Colin Firth: Another non-American, but a gifted actor and one whose deftness with comedy has only partially been tapped. It would be great to see Mr. Firth get a little freaky in a part like this.
Height: 6'1. So closer than Fiennes, although still not quite there.
Vampire-slaying experience: Minimal. But he did play Mr. Darcy in an acclaimed version of "Pride and Prejudice," which links him to "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies," which is by the same author who wrote "Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter." And that counts for something, doesn't it?
As Abe Lincoln ... Edward Norton: Maybe Norton is just fresh in my mind because I interviewed him earlier today (that story will appear in the blog later this week) but as an impressive actor with an inclination toward edgy material, he might be perfect for this. Added bonus: He's an American.
Height: 6'1. In the ballpark.
Vampire-slaying experience: Again, minimal. But he's no stranger to exploring semi-sinister characters, as his roles in films like "American History X" and his latest, "Stone," demonstrate. Plus, he was the Hulk. And I'm pretty sure that in the context of "Vampire Hunter," no one will like Abe Lincoln when he's angry.
As Abe Lincoln ... Hugh Jackman: The handsome Aussie is a well-established action star who could make a life that mixes presidential duty with driving stakes through vampire hearts thoroughly believable.
Height: 6'2. Getting warmer ...
Vampire-slaying experience: He's got it, having portrayed Van Helsing in the largely forgettable 2004 movie of the same name. This could be Jackman's chance to redeem his lame vamp-cinema past.
As Abe Lincoln ... Conan O'Brien: Okay, I know this sounds crazy. I mean, the guy has a new talk show to launch and he has absolutely zero movie-acting experience, unless you count brief appearances as himself in "Vanilla Sky" and "Bewitched," which no one does. But minus the mad pompadour, he's got the lanky Lincoln look going. Plus, as per the photo, he can work the facial hair, too. And he could smartly tap into the underlying humor in the movie's plot.
Height: 6'4. And we've got bingo!
Vampire-slaying experience: Sadly, none. Conan couldn't even fend off the bloodsuckers that essentially booted him off of NBC's airwaves. But wouldn't you pay to see him really prove himself as a total stallion, slave-freeing president who refuses to tolerate the undead? Maybe I'm biased, but I would.
Any of these choices jump out at you? Or would you prefer to see someone else in the Lincoln role? Post a comment on this clearly pressing matter of historical importance.
| October 4, 2010; 4:45 PM ET
Categories: Movies, Pop Culture
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