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Benjamin Walker plays Abraham Lincoln in a scene Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. / Stephen Vaughan/20th Century Fox /HO


Benjamin Walker plays Abe Lincoln, the 16th president and crazed hunter in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (in theatres Friday, June 22).

To prepare for the role, Walker, 30, read up on Honest Abe. Lincoln’s Melancholy helped because it was “about his poetry, depressive nature and how he dealt with death. He added, “[It] really lent itself to the story we’re telling.”

Read on for more from Walker on vampires, presidents.

Why are vampires so popular today?

“People are fascinated by immortality. What would that be like? There’s something truly scary about the idea of vampires. It’s an evil that lives among us. It could be your neighbor.”

You don't look like Lincoln.

“I do when they put six hours of make-up on me. They created a masterpiece with my face as a canvas. It was remarkable and horribly unpleasant.”

You played President Andrew Jackson to acclaim in a rock musical (Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson) on Broadway. Which president would you like to play next?

“I seem to have the market on weird interpretations of presidents. How about Woodrow Wilson in space?”

Should presidents be warriors?

“Americans certainly want somebody who’s going to have their back in a bar fight. Is it necessary? I don’t know.”

Your mother also performs?

“She is a piano player. She encouraged me to act but also to have a back-up.”

What was it?

“I never had one. One of the virtues of a small town (Cartersville, Ga.) is that it makes you want to get out. I wasn’t any good at football,” Walker a Juilliard graduate, says. “I tried to do one of the things I thought might help me see the rest of the world.”

Do you take yourself seriously?

“Nah. I take the work seriously. I’m proud to be an actor, but if I mess up no one will die.”

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