Abraham Lincoln, in the guise of actor Benjamin Walker, who portrays the 16th president in the summer movie thriller ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER, and the film’s cast and crew, yesterday visited the sailors serving aboard the Navy aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, in the Middle East.
The event marked the first time a major motion picture had its debut screening for troops deployed in the Middle East.
As history’s most beloved U.S. president and, according to the movie, its greatest hunter of the undead, Walker was joined aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln by co-stars Anthony Mackie and Erin Wasson, as well as by the film’s director Timur Bekmambetov, screenwriter Seth Grahame-Smith and producer Jim Lemley.
Following a five-hour special make-up effects session that transformed Walker into Lincoln, he took photos, in character, with many of the crew, and posed in the captain’s chair.
Over 1800 sailors sat in 90 degree heat and 100 percent humidity in the ship’s hangar bay to watch ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER unspool on a giant screen. They cheered the film’s non-stop action, as well as its blend of fact and fiction. Following the screening, the cast and filmmakers signed autographs and posed several hours for pictures.
In addition, the cast and filmmakers distributed Lincolnesque tophats, as well as fangs – tools that helped the sailors decide, in the words of one of the film’s promotional taglines, if they’re patriots or vampires. The sailors also received movie tie-in edition books, provided by Grand Central Publishing.
“The crew of USS Abraham Lincoln was very happy that Twentieth Century Fox and Navy Entertainment hosted the movie’s cast and crew out to the ship. We had a great time watching the movie, meeting the cast and more importantly showing them why we are out here supporting operations in the 5th Fleet area of responsibility. From watching flight ops to signing autographs, the crew had a fun time getting to know the cast and crew,” stated LCDR Steven Curry, USN Public Affairs Officer, USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), Carrier Strike Group Nine (CSG 9).
The filmmakers were thrilled by the one-of-a-kind experience. Screenwriter Seth Grahame-Smith stated: “Being a guest aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln, and showing its crew the film was an eye-opening, life-changing experience. Seriously. I know that sounds like something you’re supposed to say to be polite, but it’s true. Not because we got to stand on the flight deck and have our teeth rattled by afterburners, or because the sailors made up one of the most hospitable and enthusiastic audiences I’ve ever seen — clapping and cheering Abe on from beginning to end — but because we got to meet some of the most amazing, talented, hard-working and hospitable people in the world during our stay.”
Commented Benjamin Walker: “Becoming Abe aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln and walking the halls was an experience I’ll never forget. It gave the sailors a chance to feel a bit of Hollywood magic that I hope they won’t forget either.” Walker’s co-star Anthony Mackie noted, “The crew of the USS Abe Lincoln was really supportive and open to the idea of the story being told in a new and different way. I had a great time talking with all the sailors and have a deep respect for them all.”
And producer Jim Lemley commented: “After landing on the USS Abraham Lincoln and spending time with the brave and committed men and women of the United States Navy, it is clear that the undead of the world don’t stand a chance!!!”
Prior to the event aboard the supercarrier, the filmmakers screened ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER at Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti, Africa, to a standing room only house of almost 700 sailors, soldiers and airmen; and at NSA Bahrain, again for a packed house of military personnel.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER puts down stakes in theaters everywhere June 22, 2012. The film explores the secret life of our greatest president, and the untold story that shaped our nation. Visionary filmmakers Tim Burton and Timur Bekmambetov (director of Wanted) bring a fresh and visceral voice to the bloody lore of the vampire, imagining Lincoln as history’s greatest hunter of the undead.