Daniel Day-Lewis to play President Lincoln in Steven Spielberg biopic

Image Credit: Dave Hogan/Getty Images; Everett Collection

Finally! Steven Spielberg’s long-gestating biopic of President Abraham Lincoln has got a start date — and its star. Two-time Oscar winner Daniel Day-Lewis will play the man on the five dollar bill in Lincoln, based on Pulitzer Prize-winning author Doris Kearns Goodwin’s best-selling biography of Lincoln’s presidency, Team of Rivals. Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tony Kushner (Angels in America) has penned the screenplay, which in a release DreamWorks said will likely focus on “the political collision of Lincoln and the powerful men of his cabinet on the road to abolition [of slavery] and the end of the Civil War.” The film is scheduled to begin filming in the fall of 2011, with an anticipated release in the fall of 2012. In August, Liam Neeson announced he’d dropped out of playing the iconic president in the project, which briefly threw the film’s future in doubt.

More on Lincoln from EW:
Lincoln: Cast the ensemble! (Must bring Oscar?)
Liam Neeson no longer Spielberg’s Lincoln
Steven Spielberg plans to push ahead with his Lincoln film
Steven Spielberg denies rumors that his Lincoln project has been shelved
Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln: Who should play Booth?

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  • LM

    Finally, indeed! I’ve been waiting for Spielberg to do this movie for forever. I was very sad to see Neeson go, but am THRILLED that the brilliant Day-Lewis is stepping in. Here’s hoping this movie actually starts filming this time!

    • Krystal

      His resemblance is uncanny!

      • Lily

        DD-L is a genius and he will be AWESOME as Lincoln. He was riveting in ‘There Will Be Blood.” I wonder who Mary Lincoln will b?. I’d read Sally Field, who would also be AWESOME. Can’t wait to see this!

      • Otis Jefferson

        Alas, Day-Lewis shall once again bring his hamfisted delivery and overwrought sense of verbal molestation to a once-promising project. The man is a hack, plain and simple. I would be overcome with anger if I weren’t laughing so hard every time I think of him ‘tarding it up in “My Left Foot.” “There Will Be Blood” was honestly the first time I’ve ever witnessed a man self-fellating in the midst of a circle jerk, metaphorically speaking of course. Boo this man.

    • DrChocolate

      This is awesome it also them the chance to have Lincoln scream, “I DRINK YOUR MINK JULEP!” at the Confederacy.

      • DrChocolate

        *MINT. drat. I totally I ruined it.

  • Nate

    Well, I guess we should hand out the Oscar then?

    • Buddymoore

      Haha, I was thinking the exact same thing. There couldn’t have been a better choice than Day-Lewis.

      • Clete

        Try to think of any role Daniel Day-Lewis didn’t do well. Great casting. A movie that would probably worth the time to go see.

      • Terry

        Nine. He was horribly miscast, and his accent was terrible. All in all, a very underwhelming performance.

      • Allison

        Nine did suck. And I love musicals, and Italy, so it was particularly disappointing.

      • DTO

        NINE was awful, but that’s the only blemish on his otherwise spotless record. So he can’t sing for sh*t. I can live with that.

      • Jacob

        I liked Nine, I don’t understand why everyone hated it.

      • Lily

        @DTO ~ So agree. NINE is the only blemish in DD-L’s otherwise spotless, freaking AMAZING career. NINE was awful, imo. Personal DD-L faves: The Last of the Mohicans, The Age of Innocence, In the Name of the Father, The Boxer and There Will Be Blood. He’s simply one of the greatest actors ever.

    • lilian

      Fantastic casting news indeed!

  • Casey

    It will be a great Lincoln movie. Daniel Day-Lewis is such a great actor.

  • Angel

    I ran in to Spielberg scouting some of the civil war monuments in Richmond over by Belle Isle. Wonder if it was for part of this project?

  • Rahul


  • JR

    Oh this is gonna be good!

  • Ole C

    Perfect Casting! …If President Lincoln was a very very very grumpy man.. with a mustache..

    • caroline

      Let’s not make your movie ignorance quite so evident, shall we?

  • Heather

    darn – I was hoping he was going to be the front runner for Abraham Lincoln:Vampire Hunter!

    • Snsetblaze

      I was thinking the same thing.

  • laine

    So after keeping Liam Neeson waiting in limbo for 5 years Speilberg finally gets the ball rolling only months after Liam drops out?

    What a douche.

    • dm

      Neeson is way old at this point, and does a terrible American accent. Day-Lewis’s American accent isn’t the best either. I hated it in “There will be blood” and “gang of ny.”

      • marge

        His accent was spot on in Last of the Mohicans.

      • Jacob

        His accent was perfect for the period in both of those movies. Day-Lewis probably has the best period American accent of any Brit. He is a wonderful actor and he’ll do a great job. but Neeson looks just like Lincoln. They have the same nose and the same mouth.

  • Brenda Barrett

    This is definitely one I’d want to see.

  • Erin

    How was Daniel Day-Lewis not initially cast for this part? He’s so perfect for this role! Probably almost as tall as Lincoln too. Can’t wait for this movie…can already hear the Oscar buzz.

  • SC

    Be interested to see who they get to play Seward and Chase.

    • Prunella Von Schleidlhaagen

      And Stanton, and McClellan.

      • Larry Bell

        And Booth

  • Terry

    Unless some mega-watt-brilliant performance comes from left field, and knowing how Hollywood politics work, I guarantee you this will get him another Oscar: Oscar-baity role, beloved Oscar-winning director, iconic American president, plus Oscar-winning, highly respected actor that’s thought of as “due” for another Oscar = Win for Day-Lewis

    • severine

      um, day-lewis just won a few years ago. He’s one of the very few with 2 Best Actor statues. But I’m sure he’ll get at least 5 before he’s dead.

    • Arya

      Great article, Michelle! I love the Bible story of Moses that you moinneted. And I think it’s wonderful that you get to share about your faith in the paper. Our paper got rid of the Faith and Values section that it used to have. It’s really too bad.

  • Prunella Von Schleidlhaagen

    Now Liam Neeson needs to be in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter!

  • Meri

    Wow how can no one say this comming, Daniel is way better than Liam for this role.

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