Steven Spielberg has been blessed with many fine casts throughout his career, but Lincoln may feature the best collection of actors the director has ever worked with. Not only did Spielberg snag a terrific lead when he got Academy Award winner Daniel Day-Lewis to play Lincoln, but he's also got a terrific supporting cast.
Let's do the list, shall we? Sally Field as Lincoln's wife, Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Lincoln's son, Tommy Lee-Jones as Thaddeus “The Great Commoner” Stevens, a dozen other talented character actors. Could it get any better? Yes, as a matter of fact, it could.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Academy Award nominee David Strathairn (Good Night, and Good Luck) has joined the cast of Lincoln. Strathairn will star as William Seward, President Lincoln's Secretary of State.
For those not up on their history, The Hollywood Reporter notes a couple interesting points about Seward. Quoting the article, "Seward was a passionate abolitionist and fiercely loyal to Lincoln as he served in his cabinet during the Civil War." (For what it's worth, the only thing I remember about Seward from my high school history class was "Seward's Folly," in which he shrewdly acquired the Alaska territory from Russia.)
History factoids aside, Strathairn is a perfect actor to join Spielberg's impressive cast. In his comments on the casting, Spielberg said, "Throughout his career, David Strathairn has consistently delivered performances of strength and character." It's high praise, but certainly well-earned. Few actors can share a screen with someone as dynamic as Daniel Day-Lewis, but I think Strathairn may be one of them.
Historic biopics aren't typically big hits at the box office, but this film's pedigree might give it an unexpected boost. My guess is that it will be similar in success to Spielberg's acclaimed 1993 drama Schindler's List or his 1997 film Amistad, two similarly engaging true stories that were nominated for multiple Academy Awards.
Since Lincoln is one of America's most admired Presidents, will the film find a larger-than-expected audience?
Lincoln begins filming this fall in Virginia, with an expected release date in late 2012.