Gary Oldman Reading The 'Book Of Eli' For Post-Apocalyptic Western

Gary OldmanIt seems Gary Oldman has tired of playing kindly wizards and Gotham police commissioners. Variety reports the actor is returning to the dark side in "Book of Eli," where he'll go up against Denzel Washington, who is also producing.

"Eli" is a post-apocalyptic Western, where Washington's lone warrior, Eli, fights to bring society the knowledge that could be the key to its survival and redemption. Surprise -- it's a book. Oldman will play the despot of a small and pathetic town, who's determined to get ahold of Eli's book. I imagine that he doesn't have society's best interests, or redemption, at heart.

While this sounds like it could be "Mad Max" meets "High Plains Drifter" and therefore really cool, it could just as easily veer into cheesy "The Postman" territory. Many good actors have become lost in those futuristic landscapes -- and both Washington and Oldman have iffy records with science fiction. However, the risk is worth it to see them face off, isn't it?

The movie will be directed by Allen and Albert Hughes, the duo who brought us "From Hell" and was penned by newcomer Gary Whitta. The movie begins shooting this January in New Mexico, and is aiming for a release date of January 15th, 2010.

Readers, are you looking forward to seeing Oldman play another vicious villain? Or do you think he and Washington are veering close to Kevin Costner territory?