Hawke bites on Lionsgate 'Daybreakers'

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Ethan Hawke has signed on to topline Lionsgate's futuristic vampire film "Daybreakers."

Australian horror veterans Peter and Michael Spierig ("Undead") wrote and will helm the high-concept project, which begins shooting in July in Australia, with Weta Workshop creating the creature effects.

Hawke will play a researcher in the year 2017, when a plague has transformed most of the world's population into vampires. As the human population nears extinction, vampires must capture and farm every remaining human or find a blood substitute before time runs out. However, a covert group of vampires makes a discovery that has the power to save the human race.

Lionsgate will release the film in the U.S. and the U.K. and is handling international sales at the upcoming Festival de Cannes. Other films on Lionsgate's Cannes slate include "Saw IV," "Repo! The Genetic Opera" and "The Eye."

"Daybreakers" will be produced by Chris Brown of Australia-based Pictures in Paradise and Sean and Bryan Furst of Furst Films. Todd Fellman is co-producing. The Film Finance Corporation Australia is co-financing the film with Queensland's the Pacific Film & Television Commission.

Peter Block and Jason Constantine will oversee production for Lionsgate. Hawke, who was nominated for an Academy Award for his supporting turn in "Training Day," also earned an Oscar nom as a writer of "Before Sunset." He next stars in Sydney Lumet's "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead." Hawke most recently wrote and directed the indie "The Hottest State," based on his novel, which premiered last year at the Venice Film Festival.

Hawke is repped by CAA, manager Erwin Stoff and attorney George Sheshang. The Spierig brothers are handled by WMA and manager Lou Pitt.
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