In this early scene from the film, Walker’s Lincoln has journeyed to Louisiana to rescue a friend — a freed black man named William Johnson (The Hurt Locker‘s Anthony Mackie), who has been captured by a cabal of Southern vampires.
Vampires like the idea of slavery because, for them, it turns plantations into livestock farms. If certain groups of human beings are considered property, then the Confederacy is like an all-you-can-eat buffet for bloodsuckers looking to feed without consequence.
Grahame-Smith built this part of the story around true-life accounts of Lincoln’s visits to Louisiana as a young man, where he was disgusted by the sight of blacks being chained together and whipped, and his early abolitionist feelings began to form.
“In the movie, it’s a similar experience, seeing it all for the first time, and choosing how he’s going to deal with it from that point on — whether it be entering into politics, or whether it be sharpening his axe,” Walker says.
As you can see, his first big fight doesn’t go well at first. Young Lincoln is soon overtaken by two powerful vampires, played by Rufus Sewell (kneeling) and supermodel Erin Wasson (seated on top of him).
“It’s the first time in the movie he has had to exercise his skills on his own. He’s choosing his new targets, and choosing how to use these newfound skills. Who knows if he will be successful?” Walker says, adding with a laugh: “I mean, we do …”