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'Abraham Lincoln' to Get a Fresh Treatment

Dominic Cooper
Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Sundance Film Festival

UPDATE: Dominic Cooper's deal to play Henry Sturges, who mentors and trains Abe in the ways of vampire hunting, is done.

Director Timur Bekmambetov has decided to go in a different direction with 20th Century Fox’s high-profile Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter in terms of casting lesser-known stars, versus big names.

On Thursday, insiders confirmed that Joaquin Phoenix is no longer in talks to play Abraham Lincoln’s mentor in the bigscreen adaptation of the period vampire novel from Seth Graham-Smith.   Instead, Fox is in final negotiations with English actor Dominic Cooper (Mamma Mia!). He’ll star opposite Benjamin Walker, who landed the coveted role of Abraham Lincoln last month.   Cooper will play Henry Sturges, who mentors and trains Abe in the ways of vampire hunting.    Last month, Cooper made waves at the Sundance Film Festival for his dual roles in indie pic The Devil’s Double, in which Cooper plays both Saddam Hussein's son Uday and his double.   This summer, Cooper has a supporting role in Marvel Studios and Paramount’s Captain America: The First Avenger.   The cast of Vampire Hunter is beginning to round out. In talks to play the role of Lincoln’s best friend is Anthony Mackie, another young actor. His film credits include last year's Best Picture Oscar winner The Hurt LockerWe Are Marshall and Eagle Eye. He also starred in indie pic Half Nelson.   Though the studio declined comment on possible female leads, two names being mentioned are Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Scott Pilgrim vs. The World) and Australian actress Robin McLeavy.   Vampire Hunter is Bekmambetov’s first movie since the 2008 hit Wanted, and tells the story of how Lincoln vampires during the Civil War.   Cooper is repped by CAA and Markham, Froggatt and Irwin in the UK. Mackie is repped by UTA.