Spielberg Locks Strong Cast for Abraham Lincoln Biopic

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.


  1. ilovenola2

    Well, Aaron, Sally Field should be perfect casting as Mary Todd Lincoln was known as a lady who grated on everyone she met!! This ooks like a promising project for Spielberg. Let’s not forget his biggie coming THIS December, though…the film version of the English young people’s book WAR HORSE, currently represented in London and on Broadway with a spectacular stage presentation.

  2. He has two opening in December: War Horse AND The Adventures of Tintin. As of now, they are slated to open one week apart.

    Sally Field really grinds my gears too.

  3. And don’t forget SUPER 8 in theaters June 10th.

    The trailers are giving me the feeling kids today will look back at Super 8 the same way I look back at Back the the future, Goonies, Stand By Me, ET, and the first half of Explorers.

    • Although it’s been shot in his signature style from the early ’80s, Spielberg is just a producer on Super 8. JJ Abrams directed it.

      Spielberg’s name is attached to so many projects each year, that you can’t really call any of them HIS unless he actually directed. For example, I seriously doubt that he had much of anything to do with Real Steel (or Transformers: Dark of the Moon, for that matter), yet there his name in in all the trailers.

  4. motorheadache

    After this he needs to make a fifth Indiana Jones movie to make up for the last one

      • motorheadache

        Or that. 🙂

        But personally, I don’t think it’s impossible to make a good new Indy flick– his age was not one of the things that bugged me about the last movie.

        And at this point, the original trilogy has already been “tainted” by making the 4th, so I would just assume they make a fifth–the worst that can happen is there will be one more kind of lame new Indy flick, but it just might redeem Indy if done right. Nobody was happy with the way the 4th came out– not Spielberg, or Harrison Ford, or even Shia Lebouf. Maybe they’ll learn what went wrong and really nail the next one (or maybe I’m just a hopeless optimist).

        • The problem with the Indy franchise is that, despite Spielberg directing, George Lucas is the one who has real creative control, and he doesn’t listen to anyone. I think Spielberg went into the fourth Indy movie knowing that the script Lucas settled on wasn’t ready for camera. Unfortunately, he couldn’t back out, because doing so would be seen as a public vote of No Confidence in his friend.

  5. EM

    Josh, I don’t quite buy into your “three filmmakers” analysis. As family-friendly and classic such films as Raiders and E.T. may be, they form a subset of the “popcorn summer flicks” category. Accordingly, I see him as “merely” two filmmakers in one. (Still, even if he were only one filmmaker, he’d be more of one than most!)