First Look At Daniel Day-Lewis As Spielberg’s Abraham ‘Lincoln’

Published 3 years ago by , Updated August 2nd, 2013 at 10:05 am,

Just yesterday (from the time of writing this) there was yet another casting update for director Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln, the cast of which encompasses just about every other decorated or well-respected American (and British) thespian alive today. However, the film has actually been in production on location in Virginia for well over a month.

We’ve yet to see any amateur (or professional) set photos that offer an early look at the film’s sure-to-be stellar historical production design or cast members dressed in period garb. However, an off-set picture has popped up online, providing a first look at Daniel Day-Lewis as Abraham Lincoln (from the neck up, that is).

Variety‘s Jeff Sneider tweeted recently that the two-time Oscar-winning actor has not only maintained his “Lincoln accent” (ie. the U.S. president’s somewhat infamous high-pitched tone) since March 2011, but that Lewis’ actual name doesn’t even appear on the casting call sheet. Such an extreme method acting approach is quite typical of the man, whose previous attempts to “truly stay in character” including never getting out of his wheelchair while he worked on My Left Foot, living out in the wilderness while he prepared to star in The Last of the Mohicans, and listening to Eminem music in order to play Bill “The Butcher” Cutting in Gangs of New York (not even kidding on that last one).

That’s all to say: it both sounds and looks like Lewis is at it again, judging by all that information and the picture (via below:


daniel day lewis lincoln 280x373 First Look At Daniel Day Lewis As Spielbergs Abraham Lincoln

It’s safe to say that virtually no one was legitimately concerned about Lewis not being able to pull off old Honest Abe’s long-faced, bearded look; likewise, there’s also no reason to doubt that he’ll offer a richly-realized and dignified portrayal of the famous U.S. president. All the same, hearing about the actor’s (brilliant? certifiable?) acting technique is always an interesting experience, regardless of one’s personal feelings about how necessary or effective it really is.

For those who haven’t been keeping up on Lincoln pre-production: the remainder of the film’s cast includes Sally Field, Tommy Lee Jones, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Jared Harris, Jackie Earl Haley, Lee Pace, David Strathairn, James Spader, Walter Goggins, John Hawkes, Hal Holbrook, David Costabile, and Tim Blake Nelson, among many others.

If that wasn’t a prestigious enough list of names for you – Spielberg’s Lincoln biopic was also scripted by Pulitzer Prize-winner Tony Kushner (Munich), based on an earlier draft by Oscar-nominee John Logan (Gladiator, Hugo). The whole basis for this project is the acclaimed non-fiction book “Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln” by Pulitzer Prize-winner Doris Kearns Goodwin. ‘Nuff said, right?


Lincoln is expected to reach theaters around the U.S. before the end of 2012.

Source: (via The Film Stage)

TAGS: Lincoln
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  1. Which comes out first, Spielberg’s film or “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter”? I’d laugh heartily if they both premiered in the same weekend.

    • AL:VH is due out Summer 2012, whereas Spielberg’s film probably won’t be released until some six months later.

  2. My guess here is the hair brushed back is what Daniel does
    when not shooting since Lincoln did not wear it that way but
    otherwise it looks like he altered his hairline to match Lincoln’s.

    As for his acting method I do not think staying in character is
    a measure of brilliance as adherents believe but merely a
    dedication to a technique other actors have abhorred.

    Dustin Hoffman once revealed a comment made by Lawrence Olivier
    about his own method acting during the making of the Marathon Man.
    There was a scene where they speak after a run by Dustin’s character.
    There were many takes and before each take Dustin would run several laps.

    Olivier became quite frustrated with Dustin’s technique and
    the necessary delays in the shooting and finally took
    Dustin aside and said “Why don’t you try acting?”

  3. Daniel Day-Lewis looks great as Lincoln and will do great as Lincoln

  4. “I drink up your milkshake, I drink it up!”

    Guy is the best, even though he was in Nine.

    • I liked Nine. Not sure what all the criticism was about.

  5. Whatever your thoughts might be about a British actor playing Lincoln, you know that Daniel Day-Lewis will do this Steven Spielberg directed movie justice, and nail the role.

  6. I wasn’t even aware that they had that many recordings of Lincoln’s voice for Day-Lewis to try to imitate.

    • I’m pumped. :D

      I don’t care what method an actor uses to get in character, whatever they feel is best for them is best for me and how my butt feels in the theater seat.

      As an aside would everyone agree Lewis is probably in the top 5 greatest actors alive today? Would he be maybe THE best? just curious.

    • No recordings of Abraham Lincoln’s voice exist.
      Lincoln’s so called High-pitched voice is a description
      of various people who heard him speak on different occasions.

      Lincoln died 12 years before Thomas Edison invented
      the phonograph which was the first device to
      record and play back sound.

  7. I love Danny D. A role he rarely gets props for is his character in the Crucible. A great all be it slow film. If you were patient enough to watch the entire film you saw a PHENOMINAL performance by Lewis. He was GREAT in the Crucible. He should make a stellar Lincoln.

  8. D.D.L is an AMAZING actor, one of the best around today (if not ever). Bill The Butcher was a terrifying character. Can’t wait. It’s about time the great directors of our time got off their lazy arses and delivered us some real masterpieces.

    -2012 may very well be the best movie year of my life (next to the 80′s), One word… ‘Thrasher’

  9. Star Trek 2 remaking Savage Curtain?

  10. Daniel Day-Lewis is, without doubt, one of our greatest actors today, but I have to laugh every time I hear about an actor “staying in character” on the set. Dustin Hoffman once recounted something that Sir Laurence Olivier told him during the making of Marathon Man. After Dustin stayed up all night, so as to give him a wearied look for a particular scene the next day, Olivier suggested that, instead of going to such extremes, he “just try acting”. Love it.

  11. I have to say, after reading about how he prepared for previous roles, I think he could do the role in a convincing, realistic manner.
    ….. & he wouldn’t have to kill a single vampire to be convincing – Not in the least.
    The rest of the cast ain’t too shabby either.
    If I didn’t see it during its initial release, I could wait for the DVD, easily.

  12. You kinda sound like a hater. Just because big cable news ducks get rich off doing it, doesn’t mean your gonna.