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Steven Spielberg Says 'Lincoln' Was Set For December 2012 To Avoid Being Grist For the 2012 Political Election

Photo of Kevin Jagernauth By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist December 2, 2011 at 4:48PM

Steven Spielberg Says 'Lincoln' Was Set For December 2012 To Avoid Being Grist For the 2012 Political Election
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Says He'll Restore 1982 Version Of 'E.T.' For BluRay Release

Steven Spielberg

How busy is Steven Spielberg? He has two movies coming out in the next four weeks -- "The Adventures Of Tintin" and "War Horse" -- and we're already talking about his next movie, his long developing "Lincoln." After years of being geared up as a starring vehicle for Liam Neeson, the actor eventually became too old for the part, leaving Daniel Day-Lewis to take over. And with Spielberg assembling a helluva cast -- 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, David Oyelowo and Jared Harris -- to tell the tale of the most famous President in American history, it's easily a frontrunner for the 2012 Oscar race. However, as previously reported, the film will be coming after the presidential election in November, and it's a calculated move to avoid being used as political fodder by either party.

"It has a lot of revelance to our time, especially with our divided House. It is about a divided House in 1865. But I'm not willing to allow the film to be part of the gristmill of the 2012 election cycle," he explained to EW in the latest issue. "So I'm going to make the movie, which of course would be ready for release before the election, but it won't come out until December of '12."

And while he doesn't point to any specifics, he does say that both the Republicans and Democrats could put their teeth in the movie, and he's not willing to have it chewed up by politicians. "I don't mind starting a conversation, but a film like 'Lincoln' could be used by both sides, and the only casualty will be the film," Spielberg said. His feelings are understandable, and speaking from a purely pragmatic view, not rushing to meet an earlier date will certainly give him more breathing room to finish the film which is already coming in on a sharp deadline.

The expansive talk at EW with Spielberg touched upon a number of topics and elements in his career, including his regret about editing "E.T." for the 2002 20th aniversary release of the film. Most famous among the changes made to the extended edition, was replacing the guns in the film with walkie talkies. But hopefully, that 1982 will be back. "I did alter E.T., and I do regret making those alterations. When the movie comes out on Blu-Ray, either we will package both versions for the same price -- nobody has to pay any more more money for the rejiggered version -- or we will just bite the bullet and come out with the 1982 version," he says. When pressed about his thoughts on going back to perfect past movies with current technology, Spielberg makes his position clear.

"My philosophy is that every single movie is a signpost of its time, and it should stand for that. We shouldn't go back and change the parting of the Red Sea in Cecil B. DeMille's 'The Ten Commandments' just because with digital tools we can now make that even more spectacular than it was," he explains, a view that runs counter to that of his good buddy George Lucas. And speaking of the man, EW once again brings up the old history of the contentious feelings all around "The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull," and once again, Spielberg deflects his responsibility onto Lucas.

"I'm really proud of the movie. I loved bringing Marion back, I love the fact that Indy now has a son. It's a family action film, and I love that whole conceit. It's public that George and I and Harrison [Ford] all had a clash about genre and concept. But I've always told George's stories. George wrote all four stories for all four movies," Spielberg defers. "My biggest contribution was adding the father to the third movie. That was my idea, to cast Sean Connery as Harrison's father. I am best friends with George, and I'm very obedient to the stories that he writes. I'll fight for things I don't believe, but ultimately, if George wants to bring interdimensional beings into 'Crystal Skull,' I will do the best job I possibly can to acquit George's ideas and make him proud."

But he isn't just Lucas' lapdog and in what is the most tantalizing bits to come out of his talk with the magazine, he reveals that what happens after they open in the Ark in "Raiders Of The Lost Ark," was something that was being debated right into post-production. “I was a little bit dubious about what happens when they open the ark,” he says. “What actually is going to come out of the ark? There were a lot of crazy things in the script. I wasn’t sure how much we could actually get on the screen. We made a lot of it up as we were in postproduction.”

So what were those crazy things in the script? He doesn't say, so we suppose we'll have to leave it for another day. But when he can fight against Lucas he does, but it appears with 'Crystal Skull' he just lost. Anway, enough about the past and future. Here in the present, "The Adventures Of Tintin" will arrive on December 21st, with "War Horse" galloping in on December 25th.

This article is related to: Steven Spielberg, Lincoln


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