14 May 2009
Christopher Lee returning to Hammer
Hammer's next film The Resident (starts shooting later this month and has just become all the more special with the announcement that veteran screen actor Christopher Lee is joining Hilary Swank and Jeffrey Dean Morgan in the cast.
The Resident, directed by Antti Jokinen, is a psychological thriller in the mould of Hammer classics like Taste of Fear and The Nanny. Lee is cast in the role of August, a sinister old man hiding a dark secret who welcomes young doctor Juliet (Hilary Swank) into her new appartment managed by his attentive, but distant grandson Max (Jeffrey Dean Morgan).
Lee made his first appearance for Hammer as The Creature in The Curse of Frankenstein in 1957, a largely mute but nonetheless striking role which was quickly followed by titular roles in The Mummy and Dracula. Following the success of Dracula, Lee was given the opportunity to appear in increasingly substantial roles including that of Sir Henry in The Hound of the Baskervilles.
The 1960s saw Lee continue his relationship with Hammer and produced some of his finest collaborations with the company. Taste of Fear (aka. Scream of Fear) (1961) is, like Invasion of Privacy, a psychological thriller in which a young woman is tortured by events beyond her control, and features Lee as the mysterious Dr. Gerrard; Rasputin: the Mad Monk (1966) saw Lee don the mantle of the notorious aide to the Tzar - a striking performance of the mesmeric villain; and 1968's The Devil Rides Out saw Lee as the heroic Duc de Richleau in Hammer's adaptation of the classic Dennis Wheatley occult novel.
Lee's last dramatic role for the company was in To the Devil a Daughter (1976), once more playing the villain, while his final work for Hammer was as co-narrator (with his friend and Hammer colleague Peter Cushing) of the documentary Flesh and Blood (1994).
Since first working for Hammer, Lee has gone on to become an international star, working alongside the likes of Steven Spielberg (1941), George Lucas (Star Wars series), Peter Jackson (The Lord of the Rings trilogy) and Tim Burton (Sleepy Hollow, The Corpse Bride, Alice in Wonderland).
All of us here at Hammer are delighted to welcome Lee back to the fold.
List of Christopher Lee's Hammer films: