Daniel Day-Lewis To Play Spielberg’s ‘Lincoln’

Published 4 years ago by

Daniel Day Lewis Abraham Lincoln Daniel Day Lewis To Play Spielbergs Lincoln

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…

daniel day lewis Daniel Day Lewis To Play Spielbergs Lincoln

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

TAGS: Lincoln
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  1. Awesome! Daniel Day-Lewis is one of the best actors ever and I think Gangs of New York, Last of the Mohicans and There will be Blood are brillant. He should we amazing as Lincoln.

  2. Timely news for this day of November 19th,
    the day Lincoln gave a certain address
    seven score and seven years ago.

    • Excellent point… indeed…

  3. Daniel Day-Lewis rocks!

    • yup

  4. Wonderful casting!

    DDL as Lincoln is a coup for this project.

    Expect DDL to be in the Oscar race again for Best Actor for this film! LOL

  5. Redfords’ The Conspirator looks like it will be good as well!

  6. Meryl streep should play his wife or mom or something. It would be utterly epic to see the 2 greatest actors alive perform with each other

    • You said it bud!

  7. Daniel Day is such an amazing actor, I’d pay to watch him read names out of a phone book……. He’s also so good of an actor that no one seems to care that he’s like 4 inches shorter then Lincoln :-D

    Seriously though, this will be amazing… They may as well engrave his name on the Oscar now

    • I agree. I watched him in ’9′ and even though the movie was considered a flop, as usual I loved his performance. I also saw ‘My left foot’ recently. This is a man incapable of delivering a bad performance.

  8. Yes it is great, and just one look at the side by side pictures shows how little makeup will need to go into making him look like Lincoln…..But what about Boardwalk Empire? I hope this isn’t going to get in the way of that on going production……That’s one of the best things on the tube today

    • What does Boardwalk Empire have to do with the Lincoln movie? I don’t see the connection.

      • Spielberg directs Boardwalk

        • Scorcese, not Speilberg :)

          • Sorry Mr. Scorsese.

          • Thanks…..I guess I had the names mixed up….

  9. Can’t think of a better guy for the role. As much as I like Liam Neeson, this is a better guy to play Honest Abe.

  10. I too agree that this is a great choice for the role though Neeson would ahve alkso been good I think Day Lewis is a more dynamic at times intense actor. He has that same magnetic quality as Pacino, Nicholson, Washington & Eastwood in thathis performance will keep you wathcing even if the film isn’t as great. There Wil Be Blood and Gangs Of New York are two grest examples of this.

    He may arguably be the best actor alive – which I wouldn’t necessiraly go with, but there can be no dispute that Spielberg is without question the best director alive – still after all these years.

  11. Great pick but what happen to Liam Neeson? He would have been good too.

  12. “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.”

    Uhm, he worked with Martin Scorcesse who I can’t even remember the last mediocre let alone bad film he directed. Spielberg has dropped some turds lately. Just think that phrase was a bit of a slap in the face to Mr. Scorcesse.

    • That comment had NOTHING to do with Scorsese.

      You’re stretching Real REAL far to create an issue that doesn’t exist.

      • I think his point was that saying Day-Lewis had never worked with a director of Spielberg’s calibre implies that Scorcese is not a director of Spielberg’s calibre.

        Personally, I think both are gifted directors who have lost their edge in their old age, and produce work that is more commercial than artistically great these days.

  13. ouch… stay on topic you bunch of tribbles…

    Yes… this film is likely to be a must see for so many people… love it

  14. I’m just wondering if DDL will wield a big butchers meat cleaver in this film.

    • lol what I find funny is the line “We should have run a better man against Lincoln when we had the chance”, and then DDL’s Bill the Butcher threw a knife squarely in the center of Lincolns head on the union poster! :) hehe


  15. Marty only directed the pilot. He is currently working on a 3d film, believe it or not, based on a childrens book, how about THAT for atypical.
    Marty rules.

    As good as Spielberg is, half his films are total crap. His serious films, Schindlers List, Saving Private Ryan, and Munich are top notch works though. I expect great things from this Lincoln film, and Daniel truly is the scariest actor around.

  16. And with this film DDl will be the first person to win 3 best actor Oscars.

  17. Scorsese chose to describe Lincoln and the civil war in his last 4 months, a considerable choice. Homer similarly narrated only 40 days of the Trojan war. An artist’s choice. In real history Lincoln appeared to be a moral figure, a hero, and he felt depressed and sad at the news of defeat and misery: his heart became like a stone, a figure fo Dante’s Inferno, we do not know if he really prayed God. He atributed the sorrows to the sins of men, of his contemporaries: slavery and other evils. People who knew Lincon personally felt he had some magic, they had a feeling of his superior personality. The actor impersonifying Lincoln seems to be just an actor, a good one maybe. The moral stature of other heroes of the war do not appear in the narrative of the film. If you read the Iliad in the original, you feel it is very simple: simple language, elementary human feelings of hate or love, of Achilles and of all the others, enemies who knew one another like the generals and people in the civil war. After expressing all his bestial wrath on his enemy Hector, Achilles addresses himself to the divinity, not to Jove or Juno, as if it were a Juish or Christian God. The same way did Lincoln suffer, addressing to a divinity, a clear or not very clear Christian God. This does not appear in Scorsese’s film. Definitely Homer is a better artist than Scorsese. Definitaly he narrates the war better, more passionately, understanding both parties. Yet, the civil war and the most important characters of the war, Lincoln first but also the southern generals, were of the same human level as Homer’s heroes.
    Angelo Bertolo via Carnia 15 Fiume Veneto 33080 Pordenone Italy a_bertolo@libero.it