Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Now that the Twilight Saga series is over, the fittest vampire in the pack, Kellan Lutz, has found a new potential franchise to sink his teeth into. Lutz has signed to star in the indie genre film Tatua. Based on an original concept by comic book creators Paul Jenkins and Rob Prior, Tatua is about a man with a rare blood type that allows him to be tattooed with a powerful ink. He is able to pull those weapons straight off his skin, giving him an enviable leg up as a covert assassin. Aaron Sims, the vfx wiz who helmed the viral sensation short Archetype, is set to make his directing debut on the film, says Rick Schwartz, whose Overnight Productions has lined up the financing for a March production start in Toronto.

Paul Layden wrote the script, and Schwartz will produce with Todd Breau and Kari Hollend. Schwartz’s producing credits include the upcoming Machete Kills, Black Swan, The Departed and The Others.

Schwartz tells me he wanted to find a genre film that was less expensive than a superhero film, and in the vein of contained budget films like Resident Evil and Underworld. The concept certainly is unusual, as the tattooed weapons are culled from the combination of the ink, the character’s blood and adrenaline. They must be used quickly or they begin to dissolve, and the whole process takes a toll on the body of the assassin. All this becomes an afterthought when the assassin’s son is kidnapped by one of his most notoriously violent targets. The film will bear a budget around $15 million and all distribution rights are available.

“Kellan was in the foreground and the background of the Twilight Saga films, but he is a formidable physical presence and this is an opportunity for him to step up,” Schwartz said. Also helpful is that Lutz looks good without a shirt, which will be part of the bargain as he strips tattoos off his body to create mayhem. Tatua at its heart is a cool, visually arresting origin story.” Lutz is repped by Innovative and Zero Gravity Management. Sims, who has done character design and concept art for films including Twilight Saga, is repped by Paradigm and Artists and Directors Cooperative. Here is a look at Sims’ short film Archetype, which he’s developing into a feature for producer John Davis:

For all of Deadline's headlines, follow us @Deadline on Twitter.