Timur Bekmambetov to Direct Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
Ever since I watched Russian auteur Timur Bekmambetov's Night Watch (Nochnoi Dozor) (2004) and Day Watch (Dnevnoy Dozor) (2006) a few years back, I'd been excited to see what the director would be capable of when he inevitably made his way to Hollywood. So I was somewhat let down when his first American feature was 2008's flashy but uninspired Wanted, a movie that only hinted at the depths Bekmambetov's creativity.
For a while it was assumed that the Russian's next project would be a sequel to Wanted, but in a recent interview with Empire Magazine, Bekmambetov revealed that Wanted 2 has stalled while James McAvoy is shooting X-Men: First Class, and that he has begun working on a new project instead: writer Seth Grahame-Smith's Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.
Vampire Hunter is a faux-historical epistolary-style book written as a biography of the life of the 16th President, in which Lincoln is reimagined as an axe-wielding politician with a vendetta against the vampires who took his mother's life.
While we've known for some time that he was set to produce the film with the legendary Tim Burton, this is the first time Bekmambetov has confirmed that he will also direct. "[Vampire hunter] I’m prepping to direct myself," he said in the interview. "It is not a comedy at all – it is a very entertaining, epic history lesson for millions and millions of teenagers. If you remember Night Watch, it is maybe in the vein of that kind of movie. We are keeping the traditional look of Lincoln – the big hat and the beard. He has to be historically correct, but with a few special weapons… I hope we will start this winter. We are shooting in America."
Obviously, as a fan of his earlier work, anything "in the vein of [Night Watch]" sounds promising to me. While it's a shame American audiences haven't yet gotten the opportunity to appreciate Bekmambetov's creative genius - which was sadly lacking in Wanted - his upcoming partnership with Tim Burton is certainly an encouraging sign that Vampire Hunter is headed in the right direction.
Bekmambetov also gave Empire a number of updates on his other projects - including a 3D drunk-driving horror movie - which you can read about here or below:
Wanted 2: "We are discussing Wanted 2 every month. We are working on it now, but I think it will be after Lincoln because James (McAvoy) is working on the X-Men: First Class… It’s why I decided to develop Lincoln without a studio, to keep control. It’s a big movie but independent too."
20,000 Leagues Under The Sea: "Yes, it is happening. We are in development with a writer and Ridley Scott’s people. It’s early in development. I would like to direct myself – it’s a great tale that I love from my childhood. It will be a modernized version of the famous book."
Moby Dick: "I’ve developed the whole world, but we’re still working on the script. To fight a supernatural creature, you need people with supernatural abilities. It’s the same story but with a different take, much more mystical. The whalers are not ordinary people, and yes, the whale will be done digitally."
Red Asphalt. "I am working on that with Lionsgate. It’s a movie about drunk driving… in 3D! 3D is the only way to recreate what you feel when you drink and drive."
"It’s my original idea – I wrote the treatment. Everyone drinks and drives once, and I want to make a horror movie about it. It’s one big car chase. People will feel what it’s like when you’re drunk and driving, and it’s really scary. The world is not exactly the same."
The Knights Templar: "That is a project I am developing with Universal. I wrote the treatment but it’s not something I am doing in the near future. It’s a great story, but… It’s why I’m producing, because there are too many stories. I have to give them to other people sometimes.
Twilight Watch [The sequel to Night Watch and Day Watch - unrelated to the Twilight Saga]: "I hope it happens. It’s like first love – we created this world and now I’m watching the Twilight movies, I feel like we missed something by not doing Twilight Watch. Because there are a lot of ideas in those films that we were going to use. But we didn’t finish the story. It would be good to get around to it one day. "
The Last Witchhunter: "I am not working on that one. It was in discussion but is not happening now."
Black Lightning: "We are talking with Universal about producing an English-language remake, but I am not directing it."
Source: Empire Online