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Becoming Abe a ‘mind-blowing’ experience for ‘Vampire Hunter’ star

BenjamWalker plays Honest Abe “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” theaters Friday.

Benjamin Walker plays Honest Abe in “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter,” in theaters Friday.

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Roger Ebert reviews “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” today in the Movies section.

Updated: July 23, 2012 6:06AM

The history books didn’t prepare Benjamin Walker, the actor who plays the iconic president in “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter,” for a certain night shoot where Abe goes action star.

“There’s a train sequence where as Lincoln I’m in a three-piece wool suit with six hours worth of prosthetic makeup on my face. It was 2 a.m. and I was trying not to fall off the train while axing vampire stunt guys to death.

“I know you’re thinking, ‘Just another pampered actor who needs to quit his complaining,’ ” he says with a laugh.

In “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” (opening Friday), the 16th president of the United States grabs his trusty ax and whack more than just trees. Revisionist history? Walker says that was the thrill.

Q. Why does the idea of Abe Lincoln slaying vampires seem oddly appealing?

A. You look at all the movies out there and they’re all prequels and sequels based on board games. There is an absence of new ideas. That’s why there’s this excitement.

Q. What was it like the first time you saw yourself as Lincoln?

A. It was mind-blowing, especially when I was the old Lincoln. For those scenes, I had to sit in a makeup chair for six hours while various artists poked me with brushes. But then I’d look in the mirror and it just felt magnificent. When I put on the hat, it just pushed it over the edge. I didn’t see myself anymore.

Q. How bloody did it get on set?

A. It was a big joke on set. Timur [Bekmambetov, the director] would yell, “More blood, more blood!” I still have clothing with fake blood on it.

Q. Will you go see that other Lincoln film later this year directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Daniel Day-Lewis?

A. Oh yeah, I want to see it. He’s one of the greatest filmmakers working with one of the greatest actors. But one thing: Our film will always have better vampires.

Big Picture News Inc.

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