If there’s one upcoming project that screams “awards contender” on paper, it’s Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln. In addition to featuring Spielberg in the director’s chair, multiple Oscar-winner Daniel Day-Lewis as the famous 16th U.S. president and Oscar-winner Sally Fields as his wife, the film is also based on the acclaimed book “Team of Rivals” by Pulitzer Prize-winner Doris Kearns Goodwin – who co-wrote the script adaptation with fellow Pulitzer-Prize winning playwright/screenwriter Tony Kushner (Angels in America, Munich).

The cast for the historical biopic has recently swelled something fierce; it now (almost literally) includes just about every other admirable character actor or noteworthy supporting player under the sun.

Universal has announced that Joseph Gordon-Levitt – who was already appearing in several noteworthy 2012 releases – and Oscar-winner Tommy Lee Jones (he’ll pop up next in Captain America) are officially onboard for Lincoln. The two will play Abraham Lincoln’s son, Robert Todd, and Thaddeus “The Great Commoner” Stevens, respectively, and will be joined by numerous other sturdy talents in the supporting cast of Spielberg’s film.

Their ranks include: David Costabile (Breaking Bad), John Cross (Milk), Oscar-nominee John Hawkes (Winter’s Bone), Oscar-nominee Hal Holbrook (Water for Elephants), Byron Jennings (Quiz Show), Dakin Matthews (True Grit), Bruce McGill (The Insider), Boris McGiver (The Wire), Tim Blake Nelson (O Brother, Where Art Thou?), Gloria Reuben (ER), James Spader (Boston Legal), Jeremy Strong (The Messenger), and David Warshofsky (There Will Be Blood).

Kudos if you actually read through that entire list and didn’t just give up halfway through after throwing your hands in the air, exclaiming “I get it already, this movie has a great cast!” ;-)

While Spielberg may not be quite the box office behemoth nowadays that he was in years past, his name alone is easily enough to get any project (be it in film or television) going – and to attract boatloads of big name and/or acclaimed thespians to boot. So it’s not at all surprising to say the prospect of starring in a Spielberg-directed drama that encompasses some of the most important events in U.S. history (the Civil War, the end of slavery, etc.) and the most historically significant portion of Abraham Lincoln’s life was enough to attract the attention of some serious talent.

Lincoln is definitely in a solid position to become a truly great piece of cinematic artistry at the end of the day, but merely assembling a crew composed primarily of award-nominees and winners does not per se translate into a great movie (Nine, looking at you). This still sounds like one pic worth keeping an eye out for, all the same.

Production on Lincoln is slated to begin in Virginia this fall. The film is expected to reach theaters in late 2012.

Source: Universal