Watch: First Full Trailer For Steven Spielberg's 'Lincoln' With Daniel Day-Lewis

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by Oliver Lyttelton
September 13, 2012 7:17 PM
65 Comments
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It's been the best part of a decade since Steven Spielberg announced he wanted to tackle a biopic of Abraham Lincoln. The director optioned the rights to Doris Kearns Goodwin's "Team Of Rivals: The Political Genius Of Abraham Lincoln" before the book was published in 2005, and soon set his "Munich" writer Tony Kushner with the task of adapting the project. Liam Neeson was set to play the president, but the film kept getting pushing back, and the "Schindler's List" star was eventually deemed too old, and two-time Oscar-winner Daniel Day-Lewis stepped in instead, with filming finally getting underway late last year.

Even so, less than two months from the film's release, footage -- or indeed anything but a single official image from the project -- had not yet been unveiled, unusual for a film that most have been touting as a big Oscar player. Until now, that is. Hot on the heels of a teaser snippet earlier in the week, Spielberg has unveiled the full trailer to the film in the midst of a Google+ Hangout, because that's something that people apparently do now.

As far as we're concerned, it looks handsome, sweeping, and... surprisingly light on Lincoln. Most of the dialog and screen time seem to go to the supporting players -- which is at least appropriate given the "Team Of Rivals" source material -- with Daniel Day-Lewis looking as impressive as you might imagine in the title role, but not getting a lot of screen time, at least in terms of actual dialogue. So now that it's here....what do you think? The epic we've all been waiting for, or typical Spielberg schmaltz? Or something else entirely?

Co-starring a ridiculously packed ensemble including Joseph Gordon-Levitt (who participated in the hangout with Spielberg too), Sally Field, David Strathairn, Tommy Lee Jones, James Spader, John Hawkes, Michael Stuhlbarg, Jackie Earle Haley, Jared Harris, Lee Pace, Bruce McGill, Adam Driver, Walton Goggins, TIm Blake Nelson, Hal Holbrook and David Oyelowo, the film goes into limited release on November 9th, and opens wider on November 16th. Watch below.

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65 Comments

  • Jacko | September 18, 2012 9:37 PMReply

    DDL looks like Cosmo Kramer in this. Really takes me out of the period, you guys.

  • Plu | September 14, 2012 4:49 AMReply

    I can't take my eyes off of Tommy Lee Jones' bad wig...

  • LA2000 | September 14, 2012 4:34 AMReply

    Like "War Horse", this has a certain empty Hollywood 80's/90's artificial sheen that used to speak to expensive film making but now just looks dated and tired. Everything looks rigidly controlled and immaculately executed to the point that anything that might approximate actual human existence has been eradicated or strangled into submission. As one has come to expect from Spielberg in "history" mode, the project looks to be solemn and earnest but rather lifeless.

  • hank | September 14, 2012 2:24 AMReply

    What... the fuck is this?

  • Lucy | September 14, 2012 2:07 AMReply

    I can't wait to see this! I didn't realize how many outstanding actors were in it. What a cast!!!

  • StephenM | September 13, 2012 11:56 PMReply

    I'm actually very impressed by the verisimilitude of the project, at least in terms of make-up and costuming: I can actually tell who the various supporting characters are merely by the faces/hair-dos, they look so much like the actual personages (Strathairn looks exactly like William Henry Seward, for example). And Day-Lewis's voice is excellent--it has long galled me that every cinematic portrayal of Lincoln seems to show him with a deep, booming voice, when in fact he had an occasionally reedy tenor. The music is a bit too slick and "important," but I like the look of this a lot.

  • JAMBO | September 14, 2012 3:22 AM

    Come on now. I don't care if you know what verisimilitude means, there is absolutely no reason to use it in an actual sentence.

  • ryan | September 13, 2012 11:55 PMReply

    and seriously people we aren't talking about any fly by night actor.....it's freakin DDL he will be brilliant. when did this site become a hater haven. oh yeah when everyone jumped on The Playlist band wagon when they went indiewire. for all those who have been reading this blog ages ago, must get sick of it. DDL is one of the best show some respect. this used to be for cinephiles not paparazzi.

  • ryan | September 13, 2012 11:48 PMReply

    oscar...i know joaquin phoenix will be amazing....but shit that is abe lincoln....i think he'll pull a miss streep and bring it home for spielberg.

  • c | September 14, 2012 12:08 AM

    And isn't HITCHCOCK coming out this year? Or is it next year?

  • d | September 14, 2012 12:02 AM

    I really don't think he's going to win a THIRD Best Actor. No one has won three, that includes Brando, Olivier, Tracy, etc. He looks terrific, but as good as he probably is -- unless this is widely agreed to be the best performance of the year (his Daniel Plainview is a good example of that) -- I don't see it happening.

  • Michael M. | September 13, 2012 11:19 PMReply

    DDL is such a remarkable and versatile actor, capable of a numerous range of idiosyncratic and compelling performances. His portrayal of Lincoln will definitely provide some competitive contention. Although; the overt-sentimentalism featured in the films diegesis seems too contrived. My initial speculation is still favoring Joaquin Phoenix's' electrically ferocious, abnormally cynical, and immaculate performance as Freddie Quell in P.T.A's "The Master." I mean him and Hoffman (Another brilliant and diligent actor) just recently won the coveted Volpi Cup at Venice, so we'll see. Let the season commence!

  • Billy | September 14, 2012 10:36 PM

    Can we maybe refrain from making sweeping claims about a film's diegesis based on a trailer?

  • MJ | September 14, 2012 12:50 AM

    Given Spielberg's interview when they introduced this trailer, & the fact that Tony Kushner adapted the screenplay (& called it the best thing he's ever written), I'm willing to bed the overt-sentimentalism you accuse it of is down to trailer-editing, not the intent of the film itself.

  • JD | September 13, 2012 11:02 PMReply

    "Typical Spielberg schmaltz"? Excuse me? Jesus, get over yourself, Mr. Cool....

  • rodie | September 13, 2012 9:24 PMReply

    I'm sure DDL will bring it and this film will be solid, but man am I over John Williams.

  • Bakunin | September 13, 2012 9:23 PMReply

    Great visuals, but the writing sounds a bit cheesy. People should read Gore Vidal's "Lincoln" or watch the 1988 miniseries before walking into this one.

  • Bakunin | September 14, 2012 3:17 PM

    Vidal was brutally honest, his Lincoln was human. "Team Of Rivals" is typical pop history, little boldness and overly romanticized.

  • DAN | September 13, 2012 9:26 PM

    Ill take Goodwin and Kushner over Vidal any day of the week. His Lincolin is a tacky take on a great man, and the 88 miniseries is kitsch.

  • Bogart | September 13, 2012 9:18 PMReply

    D-D-L sounds like Gosling in those Gangster Squad trailers... odd and put-on. On another note, hopefully it's just the trailer that's saccharine and trite and not the film.

  • MJ | September 13, 2012 9:13 PMReply

    A lot of people only know the latter day DDL who’s very theatrical and loud, I’ve been hoping given Lincoln’s nature as reflective & quietly charismatic that we’d get a return of the subtle Day-Lewis of the early part of his career.

    And the achievement he’s pulled off with the voice should not be taken lightly, it’s not just that he manages the slight drawl or to slightly up-pitch his voice, if you just heard that audio no one would be able to tell that it’s Day-Lewis speaking. He’s been chameleonic before, but this could be something I can’t say I’ve seen anyone pull off, leaving no trace of his own speaking voice.

  • MJ | September 13, 2012 9:14 PM

    Apologies, I have no idea why the font went schizo on apostrophes/'s-es.

  • AS | September 13, 2012 9:04 PMReply

    Looks awful. And Day-Lewis? Can someone say "over-the-top"? Lewis is brilliant, no question about it, but an actor is only as good as their director.

  • AS | September 14, 2012 2:15 AM

    How did you guess?

  • DAN | September 14, 2012 12:17 AM

    Looking at all the comments you have made about this being 'awful' I'll say: Get a life. What are you? Some failed film student who cannot get any of his or her cynical snapshots of life made?

  • AS | September 13, 2012 11:10 PM

    "He's not saying anything based on actual reality." - Would you mind qualifying that?

  • JD | September 13, 2012 11:06 PM

    Oh, hey, waitaminute, I remember this guy now....he was the one screaming about how John Williams sucks a few weeks ago. Still making an AS of himself, I see.

  • JD | September 13, 2012 11:05 PM

    This guy just wants to rank out Spielberg and seem cool to the other cynical jerks. He's not saying anything based on actual reality.

  • AS | September 13, 2012 10:33 PM

    No sir, read closely. I said an actor is only as good as their director, NOT a director is only as good as their actor. I was implying that Spielberg is no longer a good director and that his insistence for all things over-the-top lead to D-Day's performance. And please, watch the "The fate of human dignity in our hands, NOW NOW NOW!!!" scene again and tell me that's not over-the-top.

  • Mike | September 13, 2012 10:28 PM

    You're hinting that Spielberg isn't talented because DDL is "over the top" here (he's not ott at all from what I'm seeing), & yet he's much more over the top in There Will be Blood & Gangs of New York, so by your logic Anderson & Scorsese also aren't good directors.

  • AS | September 13, 2012 10:17 PM

    I said an actor is only as good as their director. Paul Thomas Anderson directed There Will Be Blood, which means what?

  • Jeff | September 13, 2012 10:06 PM

    Are you suggesting that Scorcese and Anderson aren't talented directors? Because DDL feasted on the scenery in their films.

  • MJ | September 13, 2012 9:28 PM

    ? He has a single line that's spoken at a high volume in this trailer, most of what we see from him is quiet & pensive. The man's last famous performance in There Will Be Blood isn't over the top in your mind, but this is?

  • Dan | September 13, 2012 8:46 PMReply

    I'm assuming all of the 'boring' and 'Spielberg has lost it' comments have never read Team of Rivals, which is written by a Pulitzer winner. This film has the magic combo of Spielberg, Goodwin, Kutchner, Spielberg's team, and an amazing cast. You do all realize that there are other quality movies coming out that aren't made by Anderson and Tarintino. Seriously, widen your interest.

  • Alan | September 16, 2012 4:13 AM

    AS, you confuse 'criticism' with 'cynicism'.

  • AS | September 14, 2012 2:08 PM

    Yes, god forbid we should be critical of someone so famous....

  • Christopher Jason Bell | September 14, 2012 12:48 PM

    I agree. Widen your interest and start acknowledging the work of the most famous contemporary filmmaker.

  • AS | September 13, 2012 10:16 PM

    Well, thank you for finally acknowledging that I have all the answers. For a second there, I was worried you'd never learn.

  • M. Night Shymalalamanana | September 13, 2012 9:41 PM

    THANK YOU Dan. I was waiting for someone to say that.

  • DAN | September 13, 2012 9:09 PM

    AS, I only respond to playlist film blogs, but have seen you post on several others, always with the snide and snarky voice of someone who has all the answers. I also notice that the only films you seem to like are the most cynical. I certainly don't see life as nothing but optimism, but complete cynism is also a lie. In other words, get a life.

  • AS | September 13, 2012 9:03 PM

    Yeah, cause War Horse, Tintin and Crystal Skull were soooo good.......

  • Corvo | September 13, 2012 8:21 PMReply

    So boring...

  • Mass | September 13, 2012 8:16 PMReply

    Bleh. DDL is an overpraised actor working with an overpraised director in my opinion. The two of them are fantastic, no doubt, but really? I think a lot of people are jumping to a simpleminded conclusion though, in regards to Oscars. Aside from nominations, I don't see this film winning anything . The academy will nominate anything with Spielbergs name attached to it. Hence War Horse. God, what a joke that was.

  • Rob | September 13, 2012 8:14 PMReply

    Oh. My. God. It plays like the trailer for "Home for Purim" in Christopher Guest's "For Your Consideration." Jeff Wells at Hollywood Elsewhere was talking a few weeks ago about a rumor he heard about one of the big Oscar bait films being a complete disaster. My bet is on "Lincoln."

  • Mike | September 13, 2012 10:29 PM

    A, that's true, what I meant was all those discussions seemed to be around a film that had been screened in its final form.

  • Benji | September 13, 2012 9:54 PM

    Django Unchained? Anyone? Anyone? With a downright awful script and a production riddled with problems, I'd say it's a safe bet.

  • a | September 13, 2012 9:54 PM

    Mike, I'm pretty sure test-screening occurs before the film is finished, so they can go back to the editing room once they see the results. Once it's finished, it's screened for cast & crew.

  • Mike | September 13, 2012 8:42 PM

    Wrong, that rumor was about a film that had been test-screened prior to that, Lincoln wasn't even screened for it's cast & crew until today.

  • monica l | September 13, 2012 7:59 PMReply

    sounds like bill clinton

  • a | September 13, 2012 7:54 PMReply

    Looks very, very Spielberg, as was expected. I'm sure Day-Lewis is great. Still kinda disappointed Neeson wasn't able to do this.

  • Mike | September 13, 2012 7:53 PMReply

    From how Spielberg was talking about this during the hangout, the music & the moments emphasized in this trailer seem out of step with the tone of the movie. The music is just plain out of step with the tone of what's being discussed. But I feel like if you take that out it doesn't feel schmaltzy at all. I'm thinking they wanted to highlight the ensemble in addition to keeping plenty of DDL's performance under wraps.

  • mike | September 13, 2012 8:41 PM

    But he doesn't bring that sweet sentiment to his adult-oriented films (with the exception of the endings of Saving Private Ryan & Minority Report), working on a project that he's been so passionate about for so long in an effort to counteract the mythmaking of Lincoln, with the screenwriter that adapted Munich for him (his most even-handed & morally complex film), I have faith that the issues are more in the hands of the marketing than with him.

  • Ken | September 13, 2012 8:02 PM

    Yeah, to the trailer's credit, it doesn't give away anything. My only issue is that the trailer makes it seem that it has that typical Spielbergian touch. That doesn't mean that will actually be the case. I still wanna see it.

  • Jesse | September 13, 2012 7:51 PMReply

    With all due respect, that ain't worth a velvet painting of a whale and a donkey getting it on

  • Ken | September 13, 2012 7:36 PMReply

    The music makes it feel like schmaltzy Spielberg like with War Horse but there are a lot of great actors here and it looks amazing. And Lincoln is just a naturally interesting character. They'd have to really go out of their way to ruin this one. I don't think the trailer was overwhelming

  • a | September 13, 2012 7:51 PM

    According to CIRKUSFOLK, a movie about "one of the most important Americans ever during a time that changed America forever" cannot be boring. I suggest he take a look at "Gods and Generals."

  • Ken | September 13, 2012 7:48 PM

    Yes I know what this movie is about, I've been looking forward to it since it's been announced. I only said that the music makes it sound like War Horse. That's where the comparisons end for me. Other than that, I have no idea what you're babbling on about.

  • cirkusfolk | September 13, 2012 7:44 PM

    I can see the War Horse comparisons I guess, but come on, that was about a horse. This is about one of the most important Americans ever during a time that changed America forever. If that's boring to u so be it. U prolly say the same bout Schindlers List. And this might just be one of the best supporting casts ever assembled for a film.

  • Kevin Klawitter | September 13, 2012 7:35 PMReply

    Oh, we've got some EDGY commentators here!

    Oh, and historical records say that Lincoln's voice was high-pitched and squeaky, but still extremely resonant. So if DDL sounds like Truman Capote, that's just his way of being accurate.

  • bobmorton | September 13, 2012 7:31 PMReply

    dat voice!

  • Raptor | September 13, 2012 7:30 PMReply

    Honestly score sounds the same as War Horse and the whole thing is kind of boring to me. Really need Spielberg to make some 400 million dollar FX insanity soon, hopefully RoboThor will deliver the goods.

  • cirkusfolk | September 13, 2012 7:36 PM

    U mean like War of the Worlds, one of the worst films he's ever made?

  • cirkusfolk | September 13, 2012 7:26 PMReply

    Intereating voice Lewis decided to go with. Since there are no audio recordings of Lincoln, I guess he could've done anything he wanted, but for some reason I was expecting a much lower voice not unlike Daniel Plainview. Instead we got Truman Capote.

  • hoohoo | September 13, 2012 7:25 PMReply

    *yawn*
    Looks exactly like War Horse. More melodramatic, cliched Spielberg popcorn fodder.

  • Monica | September 13, 2012 7:24 PMReply

    looks meh, boring...

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