Pioneering filmmakers such as Phil Rosen, D.W. Griffith, and John Ford produced motion pictures about the life of Abraham Lincoln during the 1920s and ’30s. The following decades brought with them a plethora of TV shows and movies that either featured an appearance by the famous U.S. president or referenced him, often in a playful fashion (see: Abe’s appearance in Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure) – this summer’s box office dud Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter even turned the ex-pres into an axe-wielding superhero. However, Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln is poised to stand out as something special, even following a century of cinematic odes to the man.
A trailer for Spielberg’s historical biopic is imminent, now that the film has snagged an official release date, and the first image of Daniel Day-Lewis as Lincoln has been released. While we wait on the trailer, we can offer a poster with the multiple Oscar-winning method actor looking pensive as the Civil War-era leader.
Lewis is well-renowned for vanishing into roles, and Abraham Lincoln looks to be no exception. The poster for Spielberg’s film features a black and white color scheme that only accentuates the stress lines carved in Lewis’ features, as well as his grey-speckled facial hair and refined expression. The Gangs of New York and There Will Be Blood actor reportedly kept his Lincoln accent throughout production on the film, modeling his vocal mannerisms after the 16th president’s higher-pitched voice. Moviegoers unfamiliar with that bit of Lincoln might be taken slightly aback the first time they hear Lewis talk; no one should take issue with his appearance, though:
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Lincoln focuses on the political jousting, scheming, and negotiating that went on behind closed doors during the last four months of the 16th president’s life, as he sought to pass the 13th Amendment in order to formally abolish slavery, as the Emancipation Proclamation was recognized to be a war-times act that would surely be struck down once the Civil War had drawn to a close. Pulitzer Prize-winning author Doris Kearns Goodwin’s book “Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln” provides the factual backing for events depicted in Spielberg’s film, while Tony Kushner (Munich) is responsible for refashioning the details into engaging screen drama.
The cast is rounded out by such acclaimed thespians as Sally Field, Tommy Lee Jones, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, David Strathairn, John Hawkes, Jared Harris, and Jackie Earle Haley. Lincoln begins a limited U.S. theatrical release on November 9th, 2012, before it goes wide on the 16th.
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