*With Abraham Lincoln being touted in new GOP ads as a reason for African Americans to vote Republican, a film about his struggle to preserve the union is preparing for a nationwide release on Nov. 9 – with Oscar winner Daniel Day Lewis in the title role and Steven Spielberg calling the shots.
“There are so many things I didn’t know about Lincoln, and so many different points of view about Lincoln,” the director told us at a press conference for “Lincoln,” currently in limited release. “With over 7,000 books written, to find any five books that agree on every single facet of his life is difficult.”
Spielberg chose to base his project on one of President Obama’s favorite books, “Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln,” written by presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin. The script covers the last four months of his life and his battle to preserve the union by abolishing the cause of the nation’s Civil War – slavery.
“The thing that really surprised me about Lincoln was that with the weight of his oath he took, the Constitutional oath to preserve the union – and he’s the only president that had the union ripped out from under him and torn in half – the fact that the weight of the war that began over slavery, that he did not himself … just crack up in the middle of his first term.
“With the Civil War raging around him, with over 600,000 lives lost, revised recently upward to 750,000, with his wife on the edge of herself, the loss of his son Willie two years before our film begins, a son lost in infancy before that, the fact that he came through this with a steady moral compass and an even keel just amazes me.”
Below, Spielberg said that Lincoln was also not above doing what he had to do – even if it was less-than-honorable – to get the legislation that he wanted, which in this case was the 14th amendment passed by a reluctant Congress.