Tim Burton's 'Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter' is totally happening; Who should play Abe?

It’s a difficult time in American history. Political instability, economic uncertainty, war, populist outrage… The time is right for a movie that dares to explore the trials and tribulations of Abraham Lincoln, one of our country’s greatest and most tormented Presidents. Unfortunately, that movie is probably not happening anymore. But don’t worry, America, we’re getting the Lincoln biopic we really deserve. According to Variety, the Tim Burton-produced adaptation of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is going to begin pre-production, with Wanted/Night Watch director Timur Bekmambetov helming the movie. Since the material is so over-the-top, and since Burton and Bekmambetov are two flavors of stylized insanity, just how crazy is this movie going to be?

Another important question: who’s going to play Lincoln? The story follows Honest Abe from his youth through his presidency, so the part would require someone who could play tormented-youth and old-soul politician. It would require Oscar-worthy gravitas, Bruckheimer-worthy action juice, and some sort of wonky 19th century accent. People, isn’t this the role that Johnny Depp was born to play?

It’s worth noting that, despite the goofiness of the title, there’s a good chance that AL:VH could actually be a mite controversial. The Civil War ended almost 150 years ago, but the symbolic wounds left by the conflict are still very present in American life. (Just look at the controversy over UPN’s lame Lincoln White House sitcom, The Secret Diary of Desmond Pfeiffer.) It’s a good bet that Bekmambetov will try to sidestep any controversy by really going for broke on the horror/action stuff.

Who do you think should play Abraham Lincoln, PopWatchers? And am I the only person who thinks this movie might actually push people’s buttons? Isn’t pretty much every Confederate leader shown to be a vampire? Is this another nail in the coffin of America’s education system?

Read More:
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
Book Review

Comments (153 total) Add your comment
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  • mary q contrary

    Josh Brolin FTW

    • monica

      Brolins a great choice too! I didn’t even think of that!

      • tracy bluth

        That is a good choice- he’s a fantastic actor! Now that I’m seeing all these suggestions I’m rethinking my position on Depp.

    • Pinkie and the Brain

      Two words “Adrian Brody”

      • Josie


      • ryan

        Why? Because he can do action now? and he’s tall…. Movies these days usually do best when you dont put huge stars in them. Although CArrey was good as the grinch. Wait that was like 25 years ago

      • Joe

        Adrian Brody is not a good choice. He can’t play an action part to save is life. And don’t tell me he was good in Predators cause there was nothing redeeming about that movie.

    • Rosa

      Please not J. Depp. I’m so tired of his face. Josh Brolin might be a good choice. This book is one of my top 5, mostly because never in my life would I have read anything about Abe Lincoln if it didn’t involve him killing vampires. It was a brilliant book. I just hope they don’t cartoonize the movie, seing as it’s a Tim Burton project. Abe spends most of the book in a pretty dark place, yet still manages to be one of the greatest leaders of all times. They need to pick the right person for this or it won’t work.

    • ryan

      Depp lost his toch after the first pirates! Who cared about window, Charlie was atrocious!!!Fu** you if you think it wasn’t! He was mad at all (barely) in the lame Alice. What other crap has he played in since the first Pirates? And Brolin…what movie has he made his own, what movie has he actually brought people out to see? Remember this movie needs to make more than 10-30 million. Period pieces cost money, action movies cost money, tim freaking burton movies cost money! Pick someone else mindless drones of the EW boards.

      • TBFan

        Ryan, Ryan, Ryan. He was fantastic in Alice and Sweeney Todd came out post-first Pirates. Johnny Depp is an amazing actor and, although I don’t think he’s Lincoln, he deserves much more credit than a piece of work like you are giving him.

      • Raghil

        I’m only a mere Australian and don’t know much of US currency or hotrisy but I must say: It was a joke, it made me smile, it accomplished it’s set goal. Bunch of pedantic knobs squabbling over technicalities, sucking the joy from life. Smile. It wont kill you This brings to mind a saying I’ve heard It takes 46 muscles to frown but only 4 to slap a fool. (On the plus side you can all tell me how wrong I am about amounts of muscles used to do what, here’s the beauty: I dont care!)

      • April

        Nice post Chimatli, the East and North East areas of Los Angeles have been in lots of movies, and why not, it’s maybe the most irtsneeting and historical part of LA.And here’s a bit of information that I bet most people are unaware of. One of the most important and public members of the Black Panther Party, Eldrige Cleaver lived and grew up for a number of years on the Eastside. Cleaver lived and went to school as a kid in the Rose Hills Housing Projects and writes about his experience in a short story when he and some Chicano kids from the neighborhood burn down an elementary school. I believe this period of his life is also mentioned in his great groundbreaking book Soul On Ice .

    • ryan

      you EW readers usually have so much to say, but today you have finally shown your true colors! Morons…but that is why I come here to get upset at your dumb comments.

      • goober

        You are calling people morons when you can’t even spell touch?

  • tracy bluth

    Depp is the only choice!!!! May I ask the reason you have a picture of Robert Pattinson? Is it to p!ss people off?

    • Karate Pants

      Of course it’s only there to p!ss people off. I know everyone seems to think EW is Twi-sessed, but nary does a week go by – even months between Twilight movie releases – that there isn’t some Twilight jab. They’re fueling the fire. Lame.

      • Memet

        In my example I did show the topic sennetce, supporting details, and a concluding sennetce. I suppose the only reason I didn’t go into further detail about it is because in a blog format, more is not always more. If I were writing this in a series of lesson plans or in a writing curriculum guide I would absolutely include many more instructions along each step of the way. I would be more than happy to describe separate steps in separate blog articles with more detail and fun examples. This was intended an a skeleton overview of beginning essay composition.The truth is, good writers are not made in a day. It takes a lot of practice and a lot of tidbits of instruction rather than one huge, long lesson.I also believe that teachers can take the ideas of young writers and help them become molded into what they need to be to fit the format sometimes. For example, this is how you could fit being shot into the paragraph: Abraham Lincoln did many great things in his life. When he was young, he was so honest that he walked miles to return 6 cents to a woman who had accidentally paid him too much. He learned as much as he could and eventually became a lawyer. Later, as president of the United States, he freed the slaves and did all he could to keep the country together during the Civil War. He was shot and murdered even though he had done nothing wrong. From the time Abraham Lincoln was born until the time he died he helped people and did what he though was right.

    • DT

      Depp in a Burton-related period piece . . . AGAIN? Ugh. And isn’t Lincoln supposed to be a bit tall?

      • Becca

        Is it so wrong that a great director and actor work together a lot to make good movies? Do you groan when you see Quintin Tarantino working with Samuel L Jackson again? If so I pity you sir.

    • S

      Because Rob Pat is a vampire. Abe Lincoln: Vampire hunter? Duh, Abe is going to kill Edward. Huzzah!

      • Diane

        We can only hope.

    • Mark

      Burton needs to expand his choices and Depp is too short anyway.

    • Tv Food and Drink

      Depp and Burton have overworn their welcome as collaborators. Go your own ways, men.

      • Sad Keanu

        Second that. Enough already.

    • Mole

      There’s a picture of Pattinson because it’s a movie about a Vampire Hunter and Pattinson’s Edward is a vampire. It’s funny. Picture Lincoln hunting Edward. That’s it.

  • therealeverton

    If you can’t make a film called “Abe Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” without fear of causing offence then it’s time to go home and call it quits.

    • RyanK

      USA! USA!

      • RyanK

        Sorry that comment just really inspired my patriotic side. Where else can a big-time movie maker produce a movie about a former president and nationwide icon who also hunts vampires? Damn I love this country.

      • Anna


      • @ RyanK

        “Where else can a big-time movie maker produce a movie about a former president and nationwide icon who also hunts vampires?”

        Well, I guess tons of countries in the democratic part of the world. Countries you probably never even heard of.

      • Ahilez

        Thanks for clarifying. I did noitce that your graphic organizers followed the five sentence paprgraph format which is great. I also noitced that in your example paragraph about Abe Lincoln, all of your details supported the topic sentence about Abe Lincoln doing “great things” in his life. Adding a sentence about Abe Lincoln getting shot would NOT support the topic sentence since getting shot is not a “great thing.” A sentence about being shot could be in a separate paragraph about the obstacles in Abe Lincoln’s life.I’m not advocating limiting kids to only five sentences in a paragraph, but I am advocating teaching them correct structure (topic sentence, SUPPORTING details, concluding sentence). If that takes more than five sentences – great!I like your organizer (I use similar organizers but individualize the scaffolding for each writing task), and how you break down the teaching of writing for those who may be struggling with it.

  • monica

    Vince vaghne should be honest abe he’s got the height and face for a pretty good abe look alike. If edward from twilight is abe I will be mortified at burton. Depp should play poe, I don’t think he’d make a good abe.

    • ks


    • Templar

      Are you nuts? Where in VVs fat face do you see a resemblance to Lincoln? Sam Waterson looks like Lincoln, Matt Bomer could look like Lincoln albeit a handsome Lincoln. Vince Vaughn looks like he belongs on South Park.

      • Mark

        Nick Cage could make a good Lincoln, too bad hes not a strong actor and can’t be taken seriously anymore.

  • Nick T

    This would be awesome if they went the Rodriguez/Tarantino Grindhouse route. The title is already halfway there.

    • monica

      That would be awesome! Its too bad abe wasn’t black bc samuel l jackson would be an awesome abe lincoln! (If taking the tarentino route)

      • RyanK

        Get these mother f#%&$@ vampires out of my mother f&#@!# White House!

      • Jeff

        Ha! Best presidential line ever.

      • Sam Jackson

        Get me my tophat. It’s the one that says bad motherfu$%er on it…

    • ryan

      and too bad only 1 percent of the country seems to like that kind of movie, and if that is not true then why did all of these movies fail epically, well machete only cost 20 mill so it will do alright.

  • thericketandoo

    NOT JOHNNY DEPP. He can’t play every role guys, get over it.

  • James

    I loved the book. It will be a lot of fun to see this come to life. Yes, Johnny Depp would be great, but this also might be a good opportunity for someone new.

  • Karate Pants

    Too bad Ralph Fiennes is too old, always thought there was a likeness (cheekbones or something).

    • tracy bluth

      Who says he’s too old? He would totally work.

      • Gabby

        Well, they’d have to get another actor to play Abe in his youth, definitely.

  • J.

    Liam Neeson. wasn’t he supposed to play Lincoln in a Spielberg film?

    • Joey

      Heck yes!!!

    • Rosa

      YES! He’s big enough too!

  • Dude

    Benicio del Toro

    • Sad Keanu

      Have you ever seen Abraham Lincoln???

      • Mole

        Actually, that could be a bit of potentially brilliant ethno-sploitation homage right there.

  • wg

    Nic Cage.

  • Dude

    Jeff Goldblum

    • lefty


  • Kong

    Robet Downey Jr. He can pull off the actiony bearded fellow.

    • tracy bluth

      oooo good one! there would have to be at least five shirtless scenes.

  • Rhiii

    Noel Fielding. or Gary Oldman.
    Oo, or Alan Rickman.

    • tracy bluth

      GARY OLDMAN FTW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Orangenmaedchen

        Hell yeah!

      • TBFan

        Gary Oldman!!! Although, would he have to hunt himself? He would be perfect. That man can play anyone. Although RDJ would be good too, but I’d rather see Oldman.

    • Grace

      Hell Ya–Alan Rickman or Adrian Brody! Those are the only choices!

      • Mark

        Viggo Mortenson


      noel fielding is a bit too – odd looking. although i think he’s sexy.

  • couchgrouch

    Jane Lynch.

    • Bobby’s Robot


    • Anna

      Omfg, yes.
      She could…actually kind of look like him with dark hair.

    • Rosa

      hahahah! Awesome!

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