Orphanage Founder to Direct Priest

Priest from Tokyo Pop is one of the latest graphic novels to travel the road to the big screen, and it now has a visual effects expert in the director’s chair. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Scott Charles Stewart, co-founder of vfx studio The Orphanage, has been hired to helm Screen Gems’ horror Western being produced by Michael De Luca and Stars Road Ent.’s Josh Donen. Andrew Douglas (The Amityville Horror – 2005) was previously attached to spearhead the adaptation with Gerard Butler in the title role. A replacement for the 300 star has yet to be announced.

Created by Hyung Min-woo, Priest involves a centuries-old war between humans and vampires and tells the story of an immortal, 19th century priest who sells his soul in order to save his niece from a murderous band of bloodsuckers. The screenplay was written by Cory Goodman, who has penned the script for the 2009 remake of the 1997 David Cronenberg horror flick The Brood, and has also adapted the Kung Fu television series for the big screen. Warner Bros. plans to release that pic in 2009 as well.

Stewart worked for Industrial Light and Magic before starting up The Orphanage with Stu Maschwitz and Jonathan Rothbart. Priest will be his second directorial effort for Screen Gems. He is currently in pre-production on the studio’s Legion, a supernatural thriller about a group of strangers in a diner who learn that they may be humanity’s last defense against the apocalypse foretold in the bible. Stewart also wrote the film, which is slated to hit theaters in 2010.