Steven Spielberg Says His 'Lincoln' Will Focus On Last Four Months Of President's Life

by Oliver Lyttelton
September 20, 2011 1:25 AM
7 Comments
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Film Will Be Released After 2012 Election



After a three-year break, Steven Spielberg is getting back to prolific form. He's got two movies due out before the end of the year, and is shortly to start shooting on a new one. Indeed, it's a film that he's been talking about for years, but never seemed to progress -- "Lincoln," his biopic of the great U.S. president Abraham Lincoln, which was long set to star Liam Neeson, but was announced earlier in the year as finally moving forward with Daniel Day-Lewis in the lead.

With a script from "Angels in America" scribe Tony Kushner, the film's gearing up to get before cameras shortly, and the Bearded One has talked to the Orlando Sentinel (via The Film Stage) and revealed a few tidbits about the film, including the particular area of focus it'll take. The director says that the film is "a movie about the great work Abraham Lincoln did in the last months of his life. We're basing it on Doris Kearns Goodwin's book 'Team of Rivals,' but we're only focusing in on the last four months of Abraham Lincoln's life."

With Lincoln's assassination falling on April 14th, 1865 (though he actually died on the 15th) it looks likely that the film will focus on the closing days of the American Civil War; General Robert E. Lee surrendered only five days before Lincoln was shot and while the director says that the film is "not a battlefield movie," he reveals "there are battles in it," so we're likely to see some or all of the Second Battle of Fort Fisher, the Burning of Columbia and the Battle of Bentonville, among others. It also seems probable the film may stretch to include Lincoln's landslide re-election, his second inaugural address, and the passing of the thirteenth amendment, all of which took place in the same timeframe.

Despite the timing with next year's elections, however, Spielberg is adamant that the film isn't going to become a piece of propaganda saying, "The movie will be purposely coming out after next year's election. I didn't want it to become political fodder." It seems a little cautious but we suppose some Tea Party nutjob would get their knickers in a twist about the film, so we can understand. To be honest, we always assumed a November/December release would be in the cards for the film anyway, seeing as it's likely to be a major Oscar contender.

It's not all good news, however; Spielberg also confirms that he'll be producing Brett Ratner's kids' adventure flick "The 39 Clues," and says "we're hoping to film that next year." Ah, well. Besides Day-Lewis, "Lincoln," which will shoot at least partially in Richmond, Virginia, stars Sally Field, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tommy Lee Jones, John Hawkes, Hal Holbrook, James Spader, Tim Blake Nelson, Bruce McGill, Joseph Cross, David Straithairn, Lee Pace and Walton Goggins, and it sounds like we'll see it just over a year from now. Unlike next year's other Lincoln movie, "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter," it's undead-free.

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More: Films, Actors, Lincoln, Daniel Day-Lewis

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7 Comments

  • JT | September 21, 2011 5:48 AMReply

    Lincoln was a Republican. This film would give a boost to the Republican party before next year's Presidential election. THAT is why it's not being released until after the election.

  • MattM | September 21, 2011 2:15 AMReply

    Speaking of nutjobs, I hear that Michael Moore has been cast as North Carolina for the Battle of Bentonville.

  • John F Kaminski | September 21, 2011 2:06 AMReply

    I really like this concept for a movie I hope they do sceens on the villians who ass. the pres. and I would hope to possible get a chance to get cast in a small villian role and finnally meet Mr Kaminski who works w speilberg it would be a goal acheved in my life. I ve worked in movies but never w him and it would be an honnor so any info please e mail me asap thx to all

  • StephenM | September 20, 2011 4:49 AMReply

    Yeah, only Tea Party people make movies into political fodder. It's not like anybody on the left ever does that.

    /s

  • David Ehrenstein | September 20, 2011 3:04 AMReply

    I hope Joseph Gordon-Levitt is playing Joshua Speed.

  • BradZuhl | September 20, 2011 2:38 AMReply

    The more Spielberg, the better! I hope this is as dynamic a film as the subject matter warrants and doesn't become a boring history lesson like The Conspirator.

  • Ari Bronze | September 20, 2011 1:44 AMReply

    Absolutely breathtaking. Oscars for all involved.
    Random Batman connection – Old Two-Face and John Blake together on screen.

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