It has taken mega director Steve Spielberg 10 years, and three tries to complete Abraham Lincoln project. Embodying the historical character on screen has been a colossal task taken by the Academy Award winning director, Spielberg and actor he chose to play the president, Daniel Day-Lewis.
The Britain actor, Lewis, had to think about Lincoln as a towering figure as well as a foreign statesman. His portrayal of the figure would be a sensitive matter for U.S audiences. “Because of the nature of the iconography surrounding his life and the extent to which he is mythologized and carved in stone it’s very difficult to imagine that one could ever approach him, to get close enough, ” states Lewis alongside Spielberg.
Spielberg had long considered a film about Lincoln but did not want to portray his whole life story. He also did not want to make a Civil War film that would be full of grand battles or war stories through one man’s eyes. His approach to the film began in 1999 when he met with historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, who was in the early stages of writing her mammoth book “Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln”, a detailed chronicle of the unlikely alliances Lincoln formed with political opponents who initially considered him an unqualified upstart.
Spielberg acquired film rights to Goodwin’s book when it was only a few chapters long. Spielberg worked to condense the book into a 950-page account into a story that could play out on the screen in two and a half hours. “Lincoln” takes its cue from the last couple chapters in Goodwin’s book from January to April 1865, as Lincoln marshals his allies in the task of passing the amendment while negotiating peace.
“Lincoln” opens in limited release on November 9 and nationwide on November 16, coincidentally after the U.S election.
Signed, Shanika Simmons