Benjamin Walker, who plays Abraham Lincoln, is the son of Greg and Jeannine Walker Davis, who once lived in Carrollton and are both graduates of Carrollton High School.
Greg worked with SmithBarney, which had an office in the then-West Georgia National Bank building, and was president of the Carrollton Kiwanis Club in 2006. He now runs an Edward Jones branch office in Acworth.
Jeannine was a music teacher at Sharp Creek Elementary School and was Teacher of the Year one year. Her parents lived on Tyus Road near Carrollton.
“We knew from the time he was in the fourth grade that he was probably going to be an actor,” Greg Davis said Monday. “We didn’t push him in that direction, but we tried to provide opportunities for him to develop that way. He had a good musical background from his mother and his teachers.”
The actor’s grandparents, Farrell and Juanita Davis, live in Carrollton, as does his aunt and uncle, Barry and Nancy Davis.
Davis said his son used his middle name, Walker, as his last name for stage purposes.
“When he made his first movie, he had to join the Screen Actors Guild,” Davis said. “They only let one person join with a name and they already had a Benjamin Davis, so he used his mother’s maiden name, Walker. We’ve called him Ben Walker all his life.”
Walker attended Cartersville High School and summer classes at Interlochen Arts Academy in Traverse City, Mich., Davis said.
“He wanted to complete his senior year at the Michigan school,” he said. “That school helped get him on a glide path to a larger drama program. He had to audition, as well as have a good academic record, to get a slot in the Juillard Actor Training Program in New York.”
Walker graduated from Juillard in 2009.
He is married to Mamie Gummer, daughter of actress Meryl Streep and sculptor Don Gummer. They live in Brooklyn, N.Y. She also acts and will have the lead role this fall in a TV drama, “Emily Owen, M.D.” on the CW cable channel.
Walker, 29, has starred in several previous movies, including “Coach,” “Kinsey,” “All Saints Day” and “Unconscious.” He also starred in the stage drama, “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson.” He is currently working in an HBO TV movie, “Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight,” which is about the famous boxer’s court battles over his conscientious objector status during the Vietnam War. Walker plays an attorney in the movie.
The “Abraham Lincoln” movie is based upon a 2010 novel of the same name, written by Seth Grahame-Smith. The movie is directed and co-produced by Timur Bekmambetov, along with Tim Burton. The novelist, Grahame-Smith, wrote the screenplay.
In the movie, Lincoln learns that his mother was killed by a vampire and vows to kill as many vampires as he can.
Other stars in the movie include Dominic Cooper, as Henry Sturges, Lincoln’s mentor in vampire killing; Anthony Mackie as William Johnson, Lincoln’s valet and friend; Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Mary Todd Lincoln, Lincoln’s wife; and Rufus Sewell as Adam, the lead vampire villain.
The 105-minute, $70 million budget 3-D movie is being distributed by 20th Century Fox and was filmed in Louisiana.