Before Daniel Day-Lewis gets his chance to don the beard and top hat, 20th Century Fox will have Honest Abe wielding axes and decapitating vampires. In October, the studio bought the rights to Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter with a script by Seth Grahame-Smith, based on his novel, to be directed in 3D by Timur Bekmambetov and produced by Tim Burton. A release date of June 22, 2012 has already been set, so the focus of the filmmakers has recently on casting their lead.

Deadline is now reporting that an eclectic mix of actors will soon test for the role. They are Benjamin Walker, James D’Arcy, Adrien Brody, Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Josh Lucas, and Timothy Olyphant. We break them down, as well as the project, after the jump.

Just so we’re all on the same page, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter surmises that Lincoln’s mother was killed by vampires and that the eventual 16th President of the United States dedicated his life to destroying blood-suckers with an axe. He continued to do so all the way through his Presidency.

In the Deadline story, they once again talk about the bidding war this project created last year. Fox wanted the property so much they reportedly even “had bloody axes and bloody footprints strewn about, and arranged for a bugle player in a Confederate uniform playing “Taps” to accompany” Burton and Bekmambetov to the meeting. It must have worked.

As for the actors who are testing, we obviously already know the following actors:

  • Adrien Brody – the Oscar-winning star of The Pianist who recently has become more of an action star in films like King Kong and Predators
  • Josh Lucas – the pretty-boy, would-be leading man who has had plenty of major film roles - Poseidon, Stealth, Glory Road, etc. – but no real box office success to show for it
  • Timothy Olyphant -  the current star of Justified/former star of Deadwood whose cool, but evil, demeanor made him a perfect foil in films like Live Free or Die Hard, The Girl Next Door and A Perfect Getaway.

We know those guys. But what about these other ones:

  • Benjamin Walker – a relative unknown who had a part in Flags of Our Fathers and played a young Kinsey in Kinsey
  • James D’Arcy – a working actor who had a strong string of starring Hollywood roles from 2003-2005 in Master and Commander, Exorcist: The Beginning and An American Haunting. He also played Sherlock Holmes in a 2002 TV movie and has spent the last several years all over the small screen.
  • Oliver Jackson-Cohen – The Jake Gyllenhaal look-alike who was last seen as the “Killer” in Faster as well as Going the Distance.

Based on looks alone, I think just because we’ve seen Olyphant sport that sort of outfit on Deadwood, he’d probably be the fan favorite, but any of the new guys seem to fit the physical bill as well.

Who do you think should wield an ax as Honest Abe?

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