Steven Spielberg Adds to Massive Cast of ‘Lincoln,’ Sets Jared Harris as Ulysses S. Grant

By  · Published on November 28th, 2011

Steven Spielberg seems hellbent on casting just about every talented actor he can in his long talked-about and finally-upcoming Abraham Lincoln biopic, Lincoln. Beyond Daniel Day-Lewis as the brilliant and ill-fated American president, the rest of the cast listing for Lincoln gives new meaning to the term “star-packed,” as it currently includes Sally Field, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tommy Lee Jones, John Hawkes, Hal Holbrook, James Spader, Tim Blake Nelson, Bruce McGill, Joseph Cross, David Strathairn, Walton Goggins, Lee Pace, Jackie Earle Haley, and David Oyelowo. At this rate, I’m not entirely unconvinced that I haven’t been cast in this project.

But Spielberg has now added another British actor to this most American of stories, casting Jared Harris as Ulysses S. Grant. As Spielberg’s film will focus on “the road to abolition,” the inclusion of Grant is a no-brainer, as the general was an essential part of the Civil War, and he is regarded as the war’s most successful general for the Union side, thanks to his big wins at battles such as Shiloh and Vicksburg. Grant, of course, later became president himself, following Lincoln’s vice-president, Andrew Johnson, who assumed Lincoln’s position after his assassination.

Harris is best-known to American audiences as uptight Brit Lane Pryce on television’s Mad Men, and he’ll soon be seen as the mysterious and dangerous Professor Moriarty in the upcoming Sherlock Holmes sequel, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. And, as every piece on Harris apparently has to mention, he is Richard Harris’ son.

Spielberg’s film is based on Doris Kearns Goodwin’s “Team of Rivals,” with an adapted screenplay by Tony Kushner. [Variety]