Liam Neeson Quits Spielberg’s ‘Lincoln’

Published 4 years ago by , Updated June 27th, 2013 at 6:12 pm,

It has been a while since we have given an update on Steven Spielberg’s planned Abraham Lincoln biopic. In that time Robert Redford has already shot his own Lincoln film The Conspirator, while Spielberg’s film, titled Lincoln hasn’t made it from off the starting block.

It now seems that Spielberg’s Lincoln project truly dead, or very close to it. This news comes from the intended star of the film Liam Neeson as he dropped the project-killing news that he would not longer be a part of it while he was in London publicizing The A-Team.

Neeson was on This Morning, a daily magazine show with director Joe Carnahan discussing his 80’s television show adaptation when he was asked about the Spielberg film. The Irish actor had this to say:

“I’m not actually playing Lincoln now. I was attached to it for a while, but it’s now -  I’m past my sell-by date.”

It would seem that either Neeson is just too tired of waiting for the project to get off the ground, as it was first announced in 2005 – or he wishes to work on other projects that are actually moving forward in production.

James McAvoy In The Conspirator

For a while it appeared that there was a chance that Lincoln might be Spielberg’s next film, alongside Harvey, but instead he opted for an adaptation of War Horse, which is currently being prepped in London and LA.

Last year, when asked about Redford’s  The Conspirator which stars James McAvoy, Evan Rachel Wood and Justin Long, Spielberg said:

“We are very happy that Redford will be doing this Lincoln movie. It is completely different from what our DreamWorks Lincoln movie will be, and we believe that it will add to the commercial potential of our film. Lincoln as a subject is inexhaustible.”

Spielberg is much like Ridley Scott in that he is often attached to a multitude of films at any one time. This coupled with his producing duties, running a studio (DreamWorks) and the fact that he is a human being means that he is only able to juggle so many films. It’s looking likely that Lincoln may have fallen into a production limbo, and without its lead actor it may be stuck there for a very long time.

Spielberg fans shouldn’t worry as he has Tintin on the way (along with the above mentioned War Horse and the in-development Indiana Jones 5.) Neeson lovers should rejoice in the knowledge that the star is interested in Taken 2 and if you really need to see him as a US president then he is set to play Lyndon B. Johnson in Lee Daniels’ Selma.

If the situation with Lincoln changes, then you can read about it here at Screen Rant.

Source: Digital Spy

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  1. Production hell, it’s a bad place to be. But I can’t say I blame him, if Spielberg started this back in 2005 and here it is 10 years later I think I’d be doing the same thing. Maybe it was the ghost of John Wilks Booth that killed this project too? And taken 2? I didn’t know the first one did so well to begin with.

    • Actually six years, but yeah XD

      • It’s actually 5 years.

    • I thought that Taken was a great movie, and I am glad to here there will be a second movie coming. Liam Neeson did a wonderful job in the first one. I have to say I don’t blalme him for leaving the Lincoln movie. After almost 6 years of waiting, an actor can’t wait that long. That’s the thing with the creators of the movies sometimes they take awhile.

  2. Can’t say I blame him either. Too bad as I could have seen him being stellar in this role…

  3. just change the nose and maybe they might look alike, and there other features to

    • but i guess that wont happen

  4. Taken 2- Taken Again?

    Ha. Only kidding, loved that film, best action flick of the decade, love to see Neeson beating the crap out of people for a second time.

  5. I really admire Ol Liamo he’s great ! he’s one of the best actors to come out of Ireland, He always brings great weight to a film.His voice is great too, it has great conviction and narrative power when he talks, I love it when in taken he is talking to the bad guys at the end of the phone the tone in his voice is like oh s*** he’s going to do what he says he is going to do.

    I wonder with excitement on his other future projects he might be involved, He could do any role so well, I think he was the one thing that carried the phantom Menace, if there was more of him in the starwars prequels like the way Obi one was int the originals I think that would so helped the franchise more and it would have brought more intrigue and mystery and suspence. Tho i love star wars the prequels anyway maybe if Hollywood returns to the pages of the bible for a big bible block buster flick Liam would be and should be right up there.. we will wait and see .. keep up the good work screen rant your doing a great job !

  6. I suspect this project will be just like “Memoirs of a Geisha.” Speilberg will produce and hand directing off to another director. We’ll see “Lincoln” in a few years. Hopefully, helmed by Ron Maxwell (maybe that’d get him the money he needs to do “The Last Full Measure”).

  7. To say I amd disappointed is an understatement. Liam, I thought, would absoulely kill in this role, but I can’t say I’m surprised at his decision. This is what happens when a director puts off a project for such a long period of time. I do not know how they’re going to replace Liam, but I do not think the project is dead just yet. Also, I hope Steven continues his plan to direct this.

  8. This is great news, now Neeson can play Lincoln in the “Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter” movie adaptation.

  9. Awh. He would’ve made a good Lincoln :(

  10. Neeson is a brilliant actor. Big fan since Darkman. Good acting is not about who can do it better. Its about who can do it well. I have never been disappointed by a Liam Neeson performance. More roles… more films… rock on!

  11. Everybody keeps assuming Neeson wanted to move on to other projects, but from his “sell-by” comment it sounds like maybe he thought he was just getting too old for the role. Too bad–I’m sure DDL will be terrific, but I really wanted to see LN in the part.

  12. Wow there are either people from the future leaving comments or they are really realy bad in math lol

  13. The largest problem I see with historical drama is that they are based on the writer’s perspective of history and what they think might have happened or their interpretation of what they think might have happened. Consequently, while entertaining, not historically accurate.

    • Yes because we have a lot of people around that knew what the day to day life of Lincoln was. ;)

      History is an interpretation to a degree. While recorded stuff is easier to interpret, things like his younger life growing up and his relationships etc are all interpretations of someone elses view. Unless Lincoln did an autobiography about his sordid affair with a stripper.

      Even recorded stuff can be interpreted differently.

  14. Good riddance. Day-Lewis is a better actor anyway.

  15. I think Liam Neeson could be better Lincoln, I have seen several of his films and he just always made a great and excellent performance, He really rocks. But I can’t blame him for left the role like all of you said, but still thinking that he would be a better Lincoln than the actual now.

  16. I wonder how hard Liam is kicking himself now :) God a decent chuckle from this article after I watched the multi-award nominated Lincoln that was supposedly ‘dead”! Trust in the Spielberg ! He rarely disappoints.