Fox sinks teeth into vampire tome
Twentieth Century Fox is going vampire hunting with Abraham Lincoln — in 3D.Over the weekend, the studio won a bloody bidding war for the bigscreen adaptation of Seth Grahame-Smith’s fantasy-actioner “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter,” which Timur Bekmambetov will direct from an adapted script by Grahame-Smith. Tim Burton, Bekmambetov and Jim Lemley are producing the project, which pits Abraham Lincoln against real-life vampires. Insiders say pre-production will begin immediately, and that Fox is planning a 2012 release. Production budget is $69 million. In Grahame-Smith’s book, published in March by Grand Central Publishing, the driving force behind Lincoln’s political life and battle to end slavery is his quest to kill vampires, who feed off slaves. Even Lincoln’s assassin, John Wilkes Booth, is a vampire. Fox went all out to win rights to the project, giving a detailed pitch for the film’s production, marketing and release. Studio higher-ups didn’t stop there to get their hands on the WME-repped project. When the filmmakers entered the Fox lot Friday, they were greeted by a huge banner, plus parking signs stating: “Parking for Vampire Hunters only, park at your own risk.” Bloody footprints led the group to its meeting with Fox co-chairs Jim Gianopulos and Tom Rothman and prexy of production Emma Watts. Other props included bloody axes and a bugler in a Confederate uniform playing “Taps.” Burton himself optioned the rights to Graham-Smith’s tome. Fox has relationships with both Burton (“Planet of the Apes”) and Bekmambetov, having released his 2004 “Night Watch,” which introduced the Russian director to worldwide audiences.