'Abraham Lincoln' cast sets new precedent by screening film for troops deployed in Middle East

This past Wednesday, the cast of “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” made history.

Actor Benjamin Walker, dressed as beloved former U.S. President Abraham Lincoln was joined by his fellow cast and crew including Anthony Mackie and supermodel Erin Wasson aboard the Navy aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln in the Middle East to screen the forthcoming summer thriller “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” to over 1800 sailors.

It marked the first time ever that a major motion picture had its debut screening for United States servicemen and women stationed in the Middle East, potentially setting a precedent for more blockbusters to premiere for our troops.

We’re told the sailors sat in 90 degree heat and 100 percent humidity in the ship’s hangar bay to watch the highly-anticipated film, which blends both fact and fiction as it explores the secret life of Lincoln and how he worked to shape our nation. Following the movie, many sailors stayed to have autographs signed and pose for pictures with Walker in the captain’s chair, who spent more than five hours transforming into the likeness of the 16th U.S. President.

In keeping with the film’s tagline “are you a patriot or a vampire?” the cast and crew also distributed Lincolnesque top hats and fangs, as well as movie tie-in edition books.

And it seems the event-filled screening was a hit amongst the military.

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“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,” stated LCDR Steven Curry, USN Public Affairs Officer, USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), Carrier Strike Group Nine (CSG 9). “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.”

The event also proved to be an eye-opening experience for the movie team.

The screenwriter Seth Grahame-Smith referred to the visit as “life-changing.”

“I know that sounds like something you’re supposed to say to be polite, but it is 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 have ever seen, but because we got to meet some of the most amazing, talented, hard-working and hospitable people in the world during our stay,” he continued, while Walker noted that the experience gave the sailors a chance to “feel a bit of Hollywood magic” that he hopes they too will not forget.

"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 vampires don't stand a chance," producer Jim Lemley said. 

“Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” gnaws into theaters everywhere June 22nd.