Steven Spielberg is three successful filmmakers wrapped in one. The director is fully capable of pumping out family-friendly classics like ‘E.T.’, ‘Hook’ and the ‘Indiana Jones’ films. (We’ll excuse him for the last installment because George Lucas obviously had his hands all over it.) He can make popcorn summer flicks like ‘Minority Report’, ‘War of the Worlds’ and ‘Jurassic Park’. But, more importantly, Spielberg has the ability to produce strong Oscar-worthy films like ‘Empire of the Sun’, ‘Schindler’s List’, ‘Munich’, ‘Catch Me if You Can’ and ‘Saving Private Ryan’. Presumably falling into the latter category will be his currently in pre-production untitled Abraham Lincoln biopic, which is locking in quite a strong cast.
According to a recent post on The Hollywood Reporter, Daniel Day-Lewis – who won just about everyone over with his brilliant performance in ‘There Will Be Blood’ – is set to star as the assassinated 16th president of the United States. (That’s Abraham Lincoln, in case you flunked out of the 3rd Grade.) Lincoln’s wife, Mary Todd, will be played by Academy Award winner Sally Field, who is currently shooting ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ in the role of Aunt May.
The latest casting news reveals that Tommy Lee Jones, soon to be seen in ‘Captain America’, will play Pennsylvania congressman Thaddeus Stevens. As a Republican, Stevens fought alongside Lincoln to abolish slavery in the South. Joseph Gordon-Levitt, co-star of ‘Inception’ and lead of indie romantic comedy ‘(500) Days of Summer’, will play Lincoln’s oldest son, Robert Todd Lincoln.
Also currently in negotiations to play supporting roles in the film are Hal Holbrook (‘Into the Wild’), James Spader (‘Boston Legal’) and John Hawkes (‘Winter’s Bone’).
Based on historian Doris Kearns Goodwin’s novel ‘Team of Rivals’, Spielberg’s film is expected to tell Lincoln’s story while focusing on his efforts to abolish slavery and bring an end to the Civil War. We can presume that it will hit theaters late 2012, along with other awards contenders of the year. And knowing how well Spielberg can bring a historical drama to life, I expect it to be nothing less than brilliant.