Priest is a 2011 American supernatural action film starring Paul Bettany as the title character. The film, directed by Scott Stewart, is based on the Korean comic of the same name. In an alternate world, humanity and vampires have warred for centuries. After the last Vampire War, the veteran Warrior Priest (Bettany) lives in obscurity with other humans inside one of the Church's walled cities. When the Priest's niece (Lily Collins) is kidnapped by vampires, the Priest breaks his vows to hunt them down. He is accompanied by the niece's boyfriend (Cam Gigandet), who is a wasteland sheriff, and a former Warrior Priestess (Maggie Q).
The film first entered development in 2005, when Screen Gems bought the spec script by Cory Goodman. In 2006 Andrew Douglas was attached to direct and Gerard Butler was attached to star. They were eventually replaced by Stewart and Bettany in 2009 and filming started in Los Angeles, California, later in the year. The film changed release dates numerous times throughout 2010 and 2011. It was especially pushed back from 2010 to 2011 to convert the film from 2D to 3D. It was released in the United States and Canada on May 13, 2011.
In the future, the war between humans and vampires has devastated the world. The Church, the future incarnation of the Roman Catholic Church, created an elite spiritual warrior organization, dubbed "Priests", who were capable of slaying vampires. The majority of the vampires were killed while the remainder were placed in reservations. To protect the humans, The Church created isolated, heavily guarded cities. No longer needing the Priests' services, the Church disbanded them.
One day an unnamed Priest, is approached by Hicks, the sheriff of a nearby town. Hicks tells him that his brother Owen was mortally wounded, sister-in-law (and ex girlfriend, Shannon) were killed by vampires and Priest's niece Lucy was kidnapped. Hicks asks for Priests assistance in tracking down Lucy. Priest goes against the wishes of Monsignor Orelas, the Church's leader, to do so. Monsignor Orelas then sends a group of four Priests led by Priestess to capture him and bring him back, dead or alive.
After saying goodbye to his dying brother, Priest and Hicks arrive at a vampire reservation, where they discover that the vampires have taken shelter in Mira Sola. Mira Sola is a vampire hive where Priest lost several of his comrade Priests in a botched mission. There, they are joined by Priestess, who decides to help him because she is in love with him. The group discover that the vampires are using trains to travel, slowly amassing a new army and intending to attack the Priest's city, killing the survivors and destroying the Church. They also discover that the inhabitants of Mira Sola had tunneled to the city of Jericho, where the other three Priests had been dispatched by Priestess.
Once in Jericho, the other three Priests are soon confronted by Black Hat, who was one of the Priests who was thought to have been killed in the botched mission at Mira Sola. Black Hat asks the three Priests to become one with the vampire family, but crucifies them when they refuse leaving their bodies to hang on crosses. Black Hat and his army of vampires then proceed to slaughter the entire town. After Priest, Priestess, and Hicks find the corpses of the three Priests, they discover Black Hat's trail and follow him, eventually catching up to his train along with the other vampires.
While Priestess plants a bomb on the railroad tracks in order to stop the train, Priest and Hicks board the train and confront Black Hat and the vampires and familiars (people infected with a pathogen that makes them subservient to the vampires). Black Hat overpowers both Priest and Hicks. Black Hat reveals that the vampire Queen gave him her blood, turning him into the first vampire-human hybrid. He asks Priest to join him. Priest refuses and fights Black Hat, who reveals the truth of Lucy's parentage to the girl. After the explosives are damaged in a fight with the familiars, Priestess straps the bomb to her motorcycle and crashes it into the train. The explosion kills the vampires and incinerates Black Hat, but Hicks, Priest, and Lucy are able to escape.
Priest returns to the city and confronts Monsignor Orelas, telling him of the burnt train containing the vampires bodies, which he proves by throwing a vampire head onto the floor. Monsignor Orelas believes that the war is over and Priest's proof is trickery; Priest tells him that its just beginning. Monsignor Orelas and Priest are at odds with each other when Priest leaves, Priest refusing to even listen to Monsignor Orelas as he walks out. Once he leaves the city and meets with Priestess, she reveals that the other Priests have been notified and will meet them at a rendezvous. Priest sets off with Priestess to meet the other Priests.
Cast overview, first billed only:
Paul Bettany ... Priest
Karl Urban ... Black Hat
Cam Gigandet ... Hicks
Maggie Q ... Priestess
Lily Collins ... Lucy Pace Brad Dourif ... Salesman
Stephen Moyer ... Owen Pace
Christopher Plummer ... Monsignor Orelas
Alan Dale ... Monsignor Chamberlain
Mädchen Amick ... Shannon Pace
Jacob Hopkins ... Boy
Dave Florek ... Crocker
Joel Polinsky ... Dr. Tomlin
Josh Wingate ... Familiar
Jon Braver ... Familiar
Directed by Scott Stewart
Produced by Michael DeLuca
Written by Cory Goodman
Based on Priest by