Steven Spielberg's Lincoln Will Still See the Light of Day
by Ethan Anderton
September 15, 2009
It's been years since a Steven Spielberg project based on the life of Abraham Lincoln was announced. The production ran into budget issues back in February, and since then there haven't been any further developments. But with recent active development surrounding another Lincoln-based historical drama (Robert Redford's The Conspirator), many have been wondering if Spielberg's Lincoln would ever come to fruition and if so, what the effect of another Lincoln-based film on the market might have on it. But this is Spielberg, ladies and gentlemen, and as a recent report from Variety proves, he's not one to be intimidated.
If fuzzy, cutesy animal antics from groundhogs and monkeys don't stop audiences from checking out Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (and even the prospect of a fifth installment), then an independent movie isn't going to stop people from checking out a Lincoln biopic with Liam Neeson as the noble president. Here's what Spielberg told Variety's Peter Bart:
"We are very happy that Redford will be doing this Lincoln movie. It is completely different from what our DreamWorks Lincoln movie will be, and we believe that it will add to the commercial potential of our film. Lincoln as a subject is inexhaustible."
As always, Spielberg keeps it classy and real. Of course both of these Lincoln pics are extremely different. While Redford's focuses on assassination conspirator Mary Surratt, Spielberg's focuses on the president's anguish over the length and toll of the Civil War. As of now Tony Kushner is revising the script, but we still have to ask ourselves, how soon can Spielberg get to this project? He's deep in post-production on The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn, then is supposed to be working on a remake of the 1950 Jimmy Stewart film Harvey, and he has almost a dozen other projects that he's producing (like maybe the Halo movie?) or is attached to direct as well. So I still think it's going to be a good few years before we see this biopic unless some drastic changes are made in his production schedule soon.
Either way it seems highly unlikely that a Spielberg film about someone as iconic as Abraham Lincoln would have trouble drawing a crowd. And even though Redford does indeed command respect, his last effort, the disastrous United Artists start-up Lions for Lambs doesn't exactly help his street cred. Audiences will just have to wait for both films and judge for themselves. Which Abraham Lincoln film are you looking forward to the most?