It appears Oscar-winning actor Daniel Day-Lewis will portray President Abraham Lincoln in Steven Spielberg’s long gestating biographical film, Lincoln.
The role has belonged to Liam Neeson for quite some time now, but delays in the project eventually led to the actor dropping out of contention due reportedly to his age. He’s 58, which is two years older than Lincoln was when he caught a bullet in the back of his head while interrupting a matinee of Wicked on Broadway. It’s also only five years older than Day-Lewis’ age of 53.
Spielberg’s film is to be based on the bestselling book, Team Of Rivals, by Doris Kearns Goodwin, with a script by Tony Kushner (Munich). The focus will be less on Lincoln’s life story and more on a particular time in US history that witnessed “the political collision of Lincoln and the powerful men of his cabinet on the road to abolition and the end of the Civil War.” Spielberg is obviously thrilled to have an actor of Day-Lewis’ caliber on the project, and said as much in the press release from Dreamworks.
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.”
Production on the film is scheduled to begin the fall of 2011 with a late 2012 release date. It’s unclear if the film will reach to Lincoln’s death, but if casting is required for the role of John Wilkes Booth I think it would only be fair if it was given to Neeson.