Daniel Day Lewis To Play Abraham Lincoln, Director Spielberg Scoping Out Locations

It’s alive!

Steven Spielberg’s long-in-the-works Honest Abe biopic, Lincoln, is finally set to go before cameras, with Dreamworks just now telling the press that Daniel Day Lewis will be taking the lead role. What more is there to say about that? Can’t you just see his performance now?

The plan is still for Spielberg to use Tony Kushner’s script and to go before cameras next autumn. Dreamworks say “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”.

Liam Neeson was attached to the film for a very long time, and at the time of writing, his Wikipedia page still includes the following odd paragraph:

Meanwhile, Senor Spielberg has, apparently, already started his location scouting for the film. According to The Washington Post:

Steven Spielberg lunched Thursday at Millie’s restaurant in Richmond with officials from the Virginia Film Office, reports our colleague Anita Kumar. No word why Spielberg was in town, but he’s said to be interested in a film about Abraham Lincoln. “I asked a couple members of his entourage if they were making a movie in Richmond and one woman replied ‘maybe,'” said Aaron Ruby, a PR exec who spotted Spielberg as he walked in the front door. A film office spokeswoman wasn’t talking.

There’s bound to be much more on this as the weeks go by. In the meantime, here’s the full press release regarding Day Lewis’ engagement:

Two-time Academy Award winner Daniel Day-Lewis will star as the 16th President of the United States in DreamWorks Studios’ Lincoln to be directed by Steven Spielberg. The announcement was made today by Spielberg and Stacey Snider, Co-Chairman and CEO of DreamWorks Studios.

“Daniel Day-Lewis would have always been counted as one of the greatest of actors, were he from the silent era, the golden age of film or even some time in cinema’s distant future. I am grateful and inspired that our paths will finally cross with Lincoln,” said Steven Spielberg. “Throughout his career, he has been exceptionally selective in his choice of material,” added Stacey Snider, “which makes us feel even more fortunate that he has chosen to join with us for Lincoln.”

Based on the best-selling book, Team of Rivals, by Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, the screenplay has been written by the Pulitzer Prize winner, Tony Award winner, and Academy Award nominated writer Tony Kushner. It will be produced by Kathleen Kennedy and Steven Spielberg.

It is anticipated 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.

Doris Kearns Goodwin won her Pulitzer Prize for No Ordinary Time, the story of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt and the home front in World War II. Kushner’s prize was for his play Angels in America, which later became an Emmy Award-winning television special. He had previously worked with Spielberg on Munich for which he was nominated for an Oscar in the Adapted Screenplay category.

Filming is expected to begin in the fall of 2011 for release in the fourth quarter of 2012 through Disney’s Touchstone distribution label.