Lincoln is an upcoming 2012 biographical drama film directed by Steven Spielberg, starring Daniel Day-Lewis as Abraham Lincoln and Sally Field as Mary Todd Lincoln. The film is based on Doris Kearns Goodwin's biography of Lincoln, Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln. Filming began Monday, October 17, 2011 and ended on December 19, 2011. The film is scheduled for release on November 9, 2012, by DreamWorks through Disney's Touchstone distribution label in the U.S. and internationally by 20th Century Fox. Filming took place in Richmond, Virginia, and Petersburg, Virginia, and the film is now in post-production. Virginia offered a $4.6 million package of aid, tax credits, and in-kind donations to attract the film production to the state.
DreamWorks has announced that the film "will focus on the political collision of Lincoln and the powerful men of his cabinet on the road to abolition and the end of the Civil War." According to Spielberg, Doris Kearns Goodwin's entire book about Lincoln's presidency is "much too big" for a film, and said that the film will focus on the last few months of Lincoln's life, the ending of slavery and the Union victory in the Civil War. Spielberg said that "what permanently ended slavery was the very close vote in the House of Representatives over the 13th Amendment that story I'm excited to tell." Spielberg plans to show "Lincoln at work, not just Lincoln standing around posing for the history books...arguably the greatest working President in American history doing some of the greatest work for the world." Screenwriter Tony Kushner has said that he worked on the script for six years and that he was very interested in "the relationship of Lincoln to the abolitionist left" and that Lincoln's "incredible ability to finesse very, very treacherous political circumstances and continue to move the country forward, I mean, to lead the country forward in the midst of the most horrendously difficult period in its history, I think, is breathtaking and awe-inspiring." In Team of Rivals, Goodwin describes the following episodes of the final months of Lincoln's life in detail: The fight in the House of Representatives over proposing the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution abolishing slavery forever, which succeeded on January 31, 1865 The unsuccessful Hampton Roads Conference, which took place on February 3, 1865, at which Lincoln and Secretary of State William H. Seward met with three Peace Commissioners from the Confederate States of America Lincoln's second inaugural address, delivered March 4, 1865 Lincoln's 18-day trip to visit General Ulysses S. Grant at his headquarters at City Point, Virginia, starting March 23, 1865. He was accompanied for parts of his trip by his wife, Mary Todd Lincoln, and both of his living sons. Lincoln also met with General William Tecumseh Sherman on April 1, and later that day Petersburg, Virginia fell to the Union Army. Lincoln visited Petersburg the following day. The Confederate capital, Richmond, Virginia, fell on April 3, and Lincoln visited there on April 4. Seward was seriously injured in a carriage accident in Washington on April 5, and Lincoln returned to the White House on April 9, 1865, and immediately visited Seward. On the evening of April 9, Lincoln received a telegram informing him that General Robert E. Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia had surrendered at Appomattox Court House, in Virginia. For all practical purposes, the war was then over. Lincoln's final cabinet meeting on April 14, 1865, where he discussed his plans for Reconstruction Lincoln's visit to Ford's Theater that night, where he was fatally shot by John Wilkes Booth, at the same time that William Seward was seriously wounded in a separate but coordinated attack by Lewis Powell Cast Daniel Day-Lewis as President Abraham Lincoln Liam Neeson was originally cast as Abraham Lincoln in January 2005. In preparation for the role, Neeson studied Lincoln extensively. However, in July 2010, Neeson left the project, saying that he was "too old to play the former commander-in-chief". In November 2010, it was announced that Day-Lewis would replace Neeson in the role. Doris Kearns Goodwin described Lincoln in his final months as a leader with "the rare wisdom of a temperament that consistently displayed an uncommon magnanimity to those who opposed him". Producer Kathleen Kennedy described Day-Lewis's performance as "remarkable" after 75% of the filming had been completed, and said, "Every day you get the chills thinking that Lincoln is sitting there right in front of you." Kennedy described Day-Lewis's method acting immersion into the role: "He is very much deeply invested and immersed throughout the day when he's in character, but he's very accessible at the end of the day, once he can step outside of it and not feel that I mean, he's given huge scenes with massive amounts of dialogue and he needs to stay in character, it's a very, very performance-driven movie." Sally Field as First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln Field was first announced to join the cast as early as September 2007, but officially joined the cast in April 2011. Field said, "To have the opportunity to work with Steven Spielberg and Daniel Day-Lewis and to play one of the most complicated and colorful women in American history is simply as good as it gets". Spielberg said, "she has always been my first choice to portray all the fragility and complexity that was Mary Todd Lincoln". Joseph Gordon-Levitt as their oldest son, recent Harvard graduate and new Union Army captain Robert Todd Lincoln Robert Todd Lincoln had returned to the White House on April 14, 1865 to visit his family, and his father was assassinated that night. Gulliver McGrath as Tad Lincoln Tad was 12 years old, and toured Richmond, Virginia, with his father. Tommy Lee Jones as Radical Republican Congessional leader Thaddeus Stevens A fervent abolitionist, Stevens feared that Lincoln would "turn his back on emancipation." Stevens "excoriated him on the floor of the House" for meeting with a Confederate peace delegation. David Strathairn as Secretary of State William Seward According to John Hay, "The history of governments affords few instances of an official connection hallowed by a friendship so absolute and sincere as that which existed between these two magnanimous spirits", namely Seward and Lincoln. Seward had been seriously injured in a carriage accident nine days before Lincoln's assassination. He and his son Frederick W. Seward were attacked by Lewis Powell simultaneous with Lincoln's shooting, and were both severely injured but both survived. Lee Pace as former Mayor of New York City Fernando Wood Wood became a Copperhead Democratic Congessman sympathetic to the Confederacy Jackie Earle Haley as Vice President of the Confederate States of America Alexander H. Stephens Stephens had served with Lincoln in Congress from 1847 to 1849. He met with Abraham Lincoln on the steamboat River Queen at the unsuccessful Hampton Roads Conference on February 3, 1865 Gregory Itzin as John Archibald Campbell Campbell was a former Supreme Court Justice who had resigned at the start of war and then served as Assistant Secretary of War in the Confederate government. He was also a member of the Confederate delegation that met with Lincoln at the Hampton Roads Conference Bruce McGill as Secretary of War Edwin Stanton Stanton took charge of the investigation of the assassination plot Walton Goggins as Democratic Congessman Wells A. Hutchins Hutchins broke with his party to cast a decisive vote in favor of the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution which abolished slavery Gloria Reuben as Elizabeth Keckley Keckley was a former slave who was dressmaker and confidant to Mary Todd Lincoln Jared Harris as Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant Commanded the Union Army from March 1864 and directed the strategy that led to Union Victory. Wayne Duvall as Radical Republican Senator Bluff Wade David Oyelowo as Ira Clark James Spader as Democratic Party operative William N. Bilboe Bilboe had been imprisoned but was freed by Lincoln, and then lobbied for passage of the Thirteenth Amendment. John Hawkes as Colonel Robert Latham Latham founded Lincoln College in 1865 Hal Holbrook (who won an Emmy portraying Lincoln in a 1976 mini-series) as Francis Preston Blair Blair was an influential Republican politician who tried to arrange a peace agreement between the Union and the Confederacy Tim Blake Nelson as Richard Schell Schell was politician who later represented New York in the United States House of Representatives. Joseph Cross as John Hay Hay was assistant and secretary to Abraham Lincoln David Costabile as James Ashley David Warshofsky Jeremy Strong as John George Nicolay Nicolay was secretary to Abraham Lincoln Dakin Matthews John Palmer Usher Usher was the Secretary of the Interior in Lincoln's cabinet Boris McGiver Byron Jennings as Montgomery Blair Blair was the son of Francis Preston Blair, was the former Postmaster-General and was a political opponent of the Radical Republicans Richard Topol as James Speed Speed was United States Attorney General and brother of Joshua Speed, Lincoln's oldest personal friend S. Epatha Merkerson as Lydia Smith Smith was Thaddeus Stevens's mulatto housekeeper. Stevens was a bachelor and Smith lived with him for many years. Julie White as Elizabeth Blair Lee Lee was the daughter of Francis Preston Blair, and wrote hundreds of letters documenting events during the Civil War Production While consulting on a Steven Spielberg project in 1999, Goodwin told Spielberg she was planning to write Team of Rivals, and Spielberg immediately told her he wanted the film rights. In 2001, Spielberg acquired the rights to the biography with the intent of using it as the basis for a film. John Logan was hired to write the script, and playwright Paul Webb and Tony Kushner rewrote it. Filming took place in Petersburg, Virginia. According to location manager Colleen Gibbons, "one thing that attracted the filmmakers to the city was the 180-degree vista of historic structures" which is "very rare". Lincoln toured Petersburg on April 3, 1865, the day after it fell to the Union Army. Scenes have been filmed at the Virginia State Capitol in Richmond, which served as the Capitol of the Confederacy during the Civil War. Abraham Lincoln visited the building on April 4, 1865, after Richmond fell to the Union Army.