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Saturday, January 29, 2011

Ben Walker Wins Election: Takes Titular Role In ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER

Beating out other actors for the coveted role (like Adrien Brody, James D'Arcy, Oliver Jackson-Cohen and Josh Lucas), Ben Walker has assumed the mantle of ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER.

The movie will be shot in native 3D starting this March and slated for release June 22, 2012. Timur Bekmambetov will direct the Tim Burton and Jim Lemley production for Fox.

SPOILERS: Here is a fairly detailed description of the book - Warning: Do not read if you want a pristine viewing experience!! Many elements are sure to be used in the adapted screenplay...

The epistolary-style book is written as a biography of Abraham Lincoln, based on "secret diaries" kept by the 16th President and given to the author by a vampire named Henry Sturges.

When Lincoln is eleven years old, he learns from his father Thomas Lincoln that vampires are in fact real creatures. Thomas explains to his son that a vampire killed Abraham's grandfather (also named Abraham Lincoln) in 1786. Young Abraham is also shocked to learn that his beloved mother Nancy Hanks Lincoln succumbed not to milk sickness but rather to being given a "fool's dose" of vampire blood, the result of Thomas's failure to repay a debt. Lincoln vows in his diary to kill as many vampires as he can. A year later he lures the vampire responsible for his mother's death to the family farm and manages to kill it with a homemade stake.

At the age of sixteen Lincoln gets word of a possible vampire attack along the Ohio River and investigates, but this time he is no match for the vampire and is nearly killed. He is saved at the last moment by the intervention of the vampire Henry Sturges. Henry nurses Lincoln back to health and explains some of the nature of vampirism, emphasizing that some vampires are good and others are evil. Lincoln spends the summer with Henry and trains for combat, becoming a skilled wrestler and axe-handler. For several years following, Henry sends Lincoln the names and addresses of evil vampires; Abraham dutifully tracks them down and kills them.

As a young adult Lincoln and a friend travel down the Mississippi River to New Orleans on a flatboat to sell a number of goods. Here Lincoln's life is changed forever after he witnesses a slave auction. Lincoln follows a slave buyer and his new slaves back to their plantation and discovers to his horror that the buyer is a vampire - the slaves are to be used not for labor but for food. Lincoln writes in his diary his belief that vampires will continue to exist in America as long as they can easily buy their victims in this manner - to end slavery is to end the scourge of vampires. Lincoln becomes an Abolitionist.

Lincoln returns to his home in New Salem and begins his business and political careers by day, continuing to track down the vampires in Henry's letters at night. His life is once again tinged by tragedy when his lover Ann Rutledge is attacked and murdered by her ex-fiance John McNamar, now a vampire living in New York City. With Henry's help, Lincoln catches McNamar and kills him, but he decides to give up vampire hunting and instead concentrate on his daytime pursuits. He marries Mary Todd, begins to raise a family, starts a law firm, and is elected to a term in the United States House of Representatives.

While in Washington, Lincoln meets his old friend Edgar Allan Poe, who also knows the truth about vampires. Poe tells Lincoln that the vampires are being chased out of their ancestral homes in Europe (in part because of a public outcry over the bloody atrocities of Elizabeth Báthory) and are flocking to America because of the slave trade. Poe warns that if the vampires are left unchecked they will eventually seek to enslave all Americans, white and black. Lincoln leaves Washington in 1849 and declines to seek re-election; Poe is found murdered that same year in Baltimore, the victim of a vampire attack.

In 1857 Henry summons Lincoln to New York City. Here Lincoln and fellow vampire slayer William Seward are told that the vampires in the South intend to start a civil war so that they can conquer the north and enslave everyone. Lincoln is ordered to debate Stephen A. Douglas in what become known as the Lincoln-Douglas debates. Although Lincoln loses to Douglas (an ally of the Southern vampires), he gains a great deal of publicity and respect, which allows him to capture the Republican Party nomination for president and then the office itself.

Lincoln's election triggers the secession of the southern states and the start of the American Civil War. Early battles, such as the First Battle of Bull Run go poorly for the Union troops after they are attacked by Confederate vampires. Lincoln decides that the best way to defeat the vampires is to eliminate their food source and starve them out — to that end, he announces the Emancipation Proclamation and encourages the slaves to fight back against slave owners and vampires alike. This begins to turn the tide of the war.

However, the war takes a personal toll on Lincoln. A vampire assassin sneaks onto the White House lawn and kills Willie Lincoln, the President's 11-year-old son. Henry appears at the White House and offers to turn Willie into a vampire so that he will "live" again, but Lincoln is unwilling to allow it. Enraged, he banishes Henry and all other vampires from the White House and refuses to speak to any of them ever again.

The war ends with the South's defeat. Lincoln receives reports that the vampires in the South are fleeing to Asia and South America in the wake of the slave system's collapse. Happy for the first time in many years, he attends a play at Ford's Theater, only to be assassinated by the actor and vampire John Wilkes Booth. Booth expects the vampires to rally around President Lincoln's death, but instead finds himself shunned and hiding in a Virginia barn as Union troops arrive to arrest him. Henry arrives and confronts Booth inside the burning barn; it is implied that Henry is the one who kills Booth.

Lincoln's death is mourned by the nation. His body is brought by a funeral train back to Springfield, Illinois, where Henry stands guard.

The biography concludes with Martin Luther King, Jr.'s famous "I Have a Dream" speech at the Lincoln Memorial. Both Abraham Lincoln and Henry Sturges attend and Lincoln writes about spending the previous night at the White House. Henry has used his powers to turn Lincoln into a vampire, believing that "some men are just too interesting to die".

Looking forward to this one! Zombies I think would have been more appealing to me, but that's personal preference :-) More when I get it...

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