'Priest' casts its villain

Karl Urban will fill the role of evil leader Black Hat

Karl Urban has signed on to play the villain in "Priest," Screen Gems' post-apocalyptic horror thriller directed by Scott Stewart.

Adapted by Cory Goodman from a TokyoPop comic, "Priest" is set in a world ravaged by war between man and vampires. Paul Bettany stars as a warrior priest and vampire fighter who teams with a sheriff (Cam Gigandet) and warrior priestess (Maggie Q) to track down a murderous band of vampires who have kidnapped his niece.

Urban plays Black Hat, the evil leader of the bloodsuckers who was once a priest and hunter but now fancies himself a god of vampires.

Produced by Michael De Luca, Stars Road Entertainment's Josh Donen and Mitchell Peck, "Priest" begins production next week in Los Angeles.

Culpepper and senior vp production Eric Paquette are overseeing the project.

Urban, repped by WME, starred as "Bones" McCoy in J.J. Abrams' "Star Trek" and has "Black Water Transit," directed by Tony Kaye, in the can.
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