Based on the best-selling book “Team of Rivals” by Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Doris Kearns Goodwin and featuring a script by Tony Kushner (”Angels In America”), the film will focus on the last four months of Lincoln's life which may or may not include: the closing days of the American Civil War; the Second Battle of Fort Fisher; the Burning of Columbia and the Battle of Bentonville; Lincoln’s landslide re-election; his second inaugural address; and the passing of the thirteenth amendment. Of couse, which events Spielberg chooses to zero in on remains to be seen. But he's got a crack cast in place -- Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tommy Lee Jones, John Hawkes, Hal Holbrook, James Spader, Tim Blake Nelson, Bruce McGill, Joseph Cross, David Strathairn, Walton Goggins, Lee Pace, Jackie Earle Haley -- and certainly the material alone should provide more than enough inspiration for Williams to work with.
And projects with epic scope are no new territory for the record-holding, 45-time Oscar nominee (and 5-time winner) Williams, as he's got another coming up in the WWI-set film about a young boy and his horse. "'War Horse' is quintessential John Williams," says producer Kathleen Kennedy about the upcoming movie. "Steven was making an epic historical drama, very much in the spirit of John Ford or David Lean -- vast, beautiful imagery, whether it was the landscape, the war or pictures of the horses. It required that sense of size, musically."
Is a 46th nomination on the way? We think it's pretty likely, especially if the film truly takes off as an Oscar contender. And with buzz already brewing thanks to some early screenings, we figure Williams has already placed a call to his usual tuxedo rental company.
"War Horse" opens on Christmas Day, and you can get in the mood thanks to the plethora of new images below courtesy of IGN. Next spring Williams will start tuning up "Lincoln" which will hit theaters in the fall, just in time to shake up the Oscar race.