Joaquin Phoenix to Play ‘Abraham Lincoln’s Mentor?

While he’s yet to sign the dotted line, Joaquin Phoenix (Signs, The Village) is the front-runner to play the mentor who teaches the 16th President how to kill bloodsuckers in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter for 20th Century Fox. Deadline is told that it’s his if he wants it, so we’re basically waiting for Phoenix to make a decision.

He would join Benjamin Walker, who last Thursday was set to play the title character in the Timur Bekmambetov-directed adaptation of the Seth Grahame-Smith novel.

The story revolves around the president’s quest to rid the world of vampires, presented as part of the conflict behind the Civil War. It’s slated for release on June 22, 2012.

Seth Grahame-Smith’s revision of a Jane Austen classic blew readers’ minds and became an instant national bestseller. Now, he tackles our greatest president… When Abraham Lincoln was nine years old, his mother died from an ailment called the “milk sickness.” Only later did he learn that his mother’s deadly affliction was actually the work of a local vampire, seeking to collect a debt owed by Lincoln’s father. When Abe learned the truth, he vowed revenge and kept one passion hidden throughout his life: the brutal elimination of all vampires. His valiant, bloody fight against the undead was all but lost to history, until Grahame-Smith stumbled upon The Secret Journal of Abraham Lincoln. Using the journal as his guide, Seth reconstructs Lincoln’s life story and uncovers the role vampires played in the birth, growth, and near-death of our nation. You don’t know Abe. Honest.