Robert Redford Back to Directing Again with The Conspirator
by Alex Billington
August 17, 2009
Even at 72 years old (7 years younger than Clint Eastwood), Robert Redford is still going very strong. THR's Risky Biz Blog announces that Redford will direct the historical drama The Conspirator, the story of Mary Surratt, alleged conspirator of Abraham Lincoln assassin John Wilkes Booth. This will be Redford's eighth film he's directed. The indie production is being produced by Greg Shapiro, Rob and Web Stone and Brian Peter Falk. James Solomon, an exec producer and writer on "The Bronx Is Burning", wrote the script. Producers are out to cast, with James McAvoy said to be at the top of their list for one of the lead roles.
Mary Surratt was a Washington D.C. boardinghouse owner who sympathized with the Confederates. She was allegedly part of the plot to kill Lincoln, supplying Wilkes Booth and his accomplice David Herold weapons at her tavern after the assassin had shot the president at Ford's Theater. She was eventually convicted and sentenced to death by hanging, being the first woman executed by the United States federal government. The period immediately after the Lincoln assassination was considered extremely volatile, with the country on the cusp of again falling into civil war; that period will provide a backdrop to Redford's The Conspirator.
Redford seems like the right guy to take on this story, especially with his acting and directing experience. I'm not usually a fan of period pieces myself, but I'll make an exception for Robert Redford. He is also attached to direct Against All Enemies, but it sounds like The Conspirator will get a greenlight before that.