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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Day-Lewis as Lincoln

Daniel Day-Lewis has confirmed that he will play the role of Abraham Lincoln in the upcoming biopic of the sixteenth President. The film will be directed by Steven Spielberg and is based on the book Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin.

I'm not the biggest fan of Goodwin's political sympathies. After all, her first major release was Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream *gag*. Though I trust the story of Lincoln and his cabinet in Spielberg's hands. Also, I believe Daniel Day-Lewis is the most talented actor working today, so I am quite excited to see this film come to fruition.


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  1. Yes, Schindler's List is beautiful. But have you watched his Munich, about the Israeli agents who killed off the Black September terrorists who perpetrated the 1972 Olympics murders? It is filled with tripe about the alleged guilty feelings of the Israeli agents, as if killing off Black September was somehow the moral equivalent of the Olympics murders. Spielberg is a Hollywood liberal; Jews are okay when they are being murdered, not so okay when they defend themselves. What makes you think he will do better with Lincoln?

  2. Little short for this gig, isn't he?

  3. Kathleen - I'm no fan of Dr. Goodwin's political views, either, but you can trust the story of Lincoln and his cabinet in her hands as well. I recommend you read Team of Rivals if you haven't yet done so. (If you had, sniping at Doris Goodwin's political philosophy might not have been your first impulse.) Team of Rivals is a superb account of Lincoln's Presidency when our nation's survival was in extreme peril -- with a particular focus on his leadership of the divisive, fractured Cabinet for which the book was named. I hope that Mr. Spielberg can preserve in his film the wonderful, compelling narrative that Dr. Goodwin has delivered in her book. I heartily agree with you on the choice of Daniel Day-Lewis to portray Lincoln -- there simply is not a better choice out there.

  4. @ William, I guess I just don't think Spielberg will be grinding his political axe as heavily. I mean, it's pretty hard to market a film that casts the fellow who helped keep the country together in a bad light...

    @ Wannie, I have not read the book. However, I have read DKG's memoir, her bio of the Roosevelts. I agree that she is a very talented writer, though I hope you can understand how I would be skeptical of the tilt she brings to political biography. I certainly trust your opinion, though.

  5. While I don't qualify as a Lincoln scholar, and I didn't sleep at a Holiday Inn Express last night. I have read 'Team of Rivals' and it isn't bad. The major premise is that Lincoln made 'surprising' choices for his cabinet, with a secondary theme, that most if not all of his cabinet were men who thought that they should have been in Lincoln's chair.

    As far as Daniel Day-Lewis' height issue - Hollywood is able to do a lot with apple boxes, forced perspective and camera angles.

  6. DDL as Lincoln? Hell yes. I can't wait. Hopefully, having axed Liam Neeson (who also would've been good), Spielberg will re-cast the role of Mary Todd Lincoln, whom Sally Field was supposedly going to play. She's simply too old at this point.

    IMDB list DDL as 6'1 1/2", which seems plenty tall. This won't be case of a Joaquin Phoenix playing Johnny Cash.

    As for Spielberg's "Munich" and general political leanings, who cares? Let's judge his Lincoln movie on its own merits. I realize this is a political site, but Spielberg is a great American director. If, in 40 years of filmmaking, a couple of his movies have a couple of political messages I disagree with, I think I can take it.