Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Review: 'Deadpool' Starring Ryan Reynolds, T.J. Miller, Morena Baccarin, Ed Skrein, And Gina Carano Review: 'Deadpool' Starring Ryan Reynolds, T.J. Miller, Morena Baccarin, Ed Skrein, And Gina Carano How Quentin Tarantino & Robert Rodriguez Made Josh Brolin's 'No Country For Old Men' Audition Tape How Quentin Tarantino & Robert Rodriguez Made Josh Brolin's 'No Country For Old Men' Audition Tape 'MacGyver' Movie Reboot And New TV Series Pilot On The Way 'MacGyver' Movie Reboot And New TV Series Pilot On The Way Josh Brolin Says He's Starring With Jessica Chastain In A Movie About George Jones & Tammy Wynette Josh Brolin Says He's Starring With Jessica Chastain In A Movie About George Jones & Tammy Wynette Watch: Robert Richardson Explains Why He Took His Name Off 'World War Z' And More In 58-Minute Cinematographer Talk Watch: Robert Richardson Explains Why He Took His Name Off 'World War Z' And More In 58-Minute Cinematographer Talk George Miller Says He Originally Wanted The Music In 'Mad Max: Fury Road' To Only Come From The Doof Warrior George Miller Says He Originally Wanted The Music In 'Mad Max: Fury Road' To Only Come From The Doof Warrior Stephen King Says Stanley Kubrick's 'The Shining' Is "Like A Big, Beautiful Cadillac With No Engine Inside It" Stephen King Says Stanley Kubrick's 'The Shining' Is "Like A Big, Beautiful Cadillac With No Engine Inside It" Review: Coen Brothers' 'Hail, Caesar!' Starring Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Scarlett Johansson, Tilda Swinton, And More Review: Coen Brothers' 'Hail, Caesar!' Starring Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Scarlett Johansson, Tilda Swinton, And More Naomi Watts Confirmed For David Lynch’s ‘Twin Peaks’ Revival; Tom Sizemore Joins Cast Naomi Watts Confirmed For David Lynch’s ‘Twin Peaks’ Revival; Tom Sizemore Joins Cast Watch: Quentin Tarantino Talks 5 Movies To Watch Before 'The Hateful Eight' In 7-Minute Video Watch: Quentin Tarantino Talks 5 Movies To Watch Before 'The Hateful Eight' In 7-Minute Video The 25 Most Anticipated New TV Shows Of 2016 The 25 Most Anticipated New TV Shows Of 2016 The 20 Best Documentaries Of 2015 The 20 Best Documentaries Of 2015 The 20 Best Films Of 2015 The 20 Best Films Of 2015 The 25 Best Action Movies Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Action Movies Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Comedies Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Comedies Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Sci-Fi Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Sci-Fi Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far Terry Gilliam Talks The "Simplistic" Films Of Steven Spielberg, Dumbing Down Of Audiences, 'Don Quixote' Start Date & More Terry Gilliam Talks The "Simplistic" Films Of Steven Spielberg, Dumbing Down Of Audiences, 'Don Quixote' Start Date & More

Spielberg Chased Daniel Day-Lewis For 9 Years, Wanted Him Before Liam Neeson To Play ‘Lincoln' & More About The Film

The Playlist By Rodrigo Perez | The Playlist November 7, 2012 at 1:03PM

Now that President Obama is back for a second term, some Oscar pundits are claiming Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln,” starring Daniel Day-Lewis as the titular leader, is a shoo-in lock for a Best Picture win at the Oscars. We wouldn’t go that far, but the political drama, which hit theaters this weekend, is certainly going to be up for a handful of Oscar nominations at the very least.
1

Lincoln
3. At Spielberg's insistence, screenwriter Tony Kushner narrowed the scope of the movie to the short period it covers.
According to the LA Times, Kushner (“Angels In America”) wrestled with the script for five years. The “Munich” screenwriter (arguably Spielberg’s best movie in the last decade) missed multiple deadlines as he took it from a 500-page, mini-series-length first draft to a 149-minute feature. He and Spielberg couldn’t tame it to their liking, so Liam Neeson moved on to work on other projects.

The original drafts seemed much more sprawling, going stem-to-stern through Lincoln’s life. The Times says the draft that came to Day-Lewis in 2003, the one he turned down, was "less presidential and more about the Civil War."

Tommy Lee Jones in "Lincoln"
Tommy Lee Jones in "Lincoln"
4. British crew members were told not to speak to the notoriously methodical Daniel Day-Lewis in their normal accents. Day-Lewis sometimes spoke about contemporary pop culture in his high, and reedy Lincoln voice.
As you might imagine, Daniel Day-Lewis didn't break character between takes. “I just came to see him as the character. I assume he didn’t change the voice. Why would he?” Spielberg said.

The director and the actor were both concerned that actors speaking in their natural accents would distract Day-Lewis and inadvertently lapse into his normal accent so they were told only to speak to him with the American accents they had adopted for the role.

“It was sort of an extended improvisation,” Jared Harris, who plays Ulysses S. Grant in the movie, told the Times. “You didn’t go up to him and say, ‘Hey, did you see the Pirates game last night?’ It was important for him to retain the attitude, if you like, and the dialect he had created. So we would sit there and joke, for example, about the Vicksburg campaign.” He added, “At the end of the day sometimes we’d ride back in the car, and he’d stay in character but talk about ‘Mad Men,’ which of course he couldn’t know about, because television hadn’t been invented then.”

Interestingly enough, according to the New York Times, Kushner said that Day-Lewis warned him that once shooting began he would no longer be speaking to him and only to the director.

This article is related to: Interviews, Lincoln, Steven Spielberg, Daniel Day-Lewis


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates