Remember that Steven Spielberg Abraham Lincoln biopic that was on the way? Remember that Liam Neeson was set to play Lincoln but ultimately dropped out?

Well, Spielberg’s Lincoln may have seemed like a fading prospect – until today, that is. DreamWorks has announced that Academy Award-winner (and arguably the best actor alive), Daniel Day-Lewis will be stepping in to take on the role America’s controversial 16th president.

Here is the official press announcement issued by DreamWorks, starting with a quote from Spielberg himself:

“Daniel Day-Lewis would have always been counted as one of the greatest of actors, were he from the silent era, the golden age of film or even some time in cinema’s distant future. I am grateful and inspired that our paths will finally cross with Lincoln.”

Stacey Snider, Co-Chariman and CEO of DreamWorks had this to add:

“He has been exceptionally selective in his choice of material…which makes us feel even more fortunate that he has chosen to join with us for ‘Lincoln.'”

The script for the film will be based on the popular book Team of Rivals by Pulitzer Prize-winner Doris Kearns Goodwin; the screenplay was first  scribed by John Logan (The Last Samurai) and Paul Webb, with a revision having been done by Tony Kushner (Angels In America, Munich). The story will reportedly focus on “[Lincoln’s] anguish over the length and toll of the Civil War.”; I would suspect that a larger meditation on the state of a divided nation at war will also be included,  considering how that topic resonates with the American political climate of the last decade or so…

Lewis is no stranger to Civil War-era fashion

On the subject of Daniel Day-Lewis playing Abraham Lincoln – what else is there to say besides “Awesome,” and “See you at the Oscars”? If anything, I feel truly surprised that it’s taken this long for an actor of Day-Lewis’ caliber to work with a director of Spielberg’s caliber. But maybe all things unfold in their destined time frames…we’ll see.

I now expect huge things from this particular biopic – though I also worry that this combination of star/director power might completely overshadow Robert Redford’s Abraham Lincoln project, The Conspirator, which focuses on the trials of those who conspired in the president’s eventual assassination.

Spielberg’s Lincoln is expect to start filming next fall for a targeted release during the holiday season of 2012.

Source: Dreamworks