Oscars 2012: Daniel Day-Lewis cast as Steven Spielberg’s ‘Lincoln’

On Friday, DreamWorks announced that two-time Oscar champ Daniel Day-Lewis (“My Left Foot,” “There Will Be Blood”) will play the 16th American president in Steven Spielberg‘s long-gestating biopic “Lincoln.” The film is slated to start shooting in the fall of 2011 and be released through Disney’s Touchstone in the fall of 2012. At one point, it had been rumored that Liam Neeson — Spielberg’s leading man from the 1993 Best Picture winner “Schindler’s List” — would play the fallen leader.

Pulitzer and Tony-winning playwright Tony Kushner (“Angels in America”) has adapted Doris Kearn Goodwin‘s 2005 bestseller “Team of Rivals.” The talented scribe was a 2005 adapted screenplay Oscar nominee along with Eric Roth for their work on Spielberg’s Best Picture nominee “Munich.” As per the press release, “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.”

With regards to the casting news, Spielberg said, “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.'” And for studio co-chair Stacey Snider, “Throughout his career, he has been exceptionally selective in his choice of material, which makes us feel even more fortunate that he has chosen to join with us for ‘Lincoln.'”

Image: “Team of Rivals” book cover (Simon and Schuster)

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