Oscar winner Daniel Day Lewis will pick up a stovepipe hat to play one of history's most iconic figures. Steven Spielberg's long-awaited, long-discussed biopic film about America's 16th President has finally been given the green light. And for the main character, Spielberg turned to Lewis, who won Academy Awards for My Left Foot and There Will be Blood. Fans of American history movies will likely remember Lewis for Last of the Mohicans.
Liam Neeson, the original choice to play Abraham Lincoln, left the project some time ago. Neeson would've brought a lot of gravitas to the role, and it's a shame he backed out of the project. But put a beard on Daniel Day Lewis and a stovepipe hat on his head, and there is an uncanny resemblance to the legendary President. What's more, Lewis is an extremely talented actor. He may very well pull off the kind of mesmerizing portrayal of Lincoln that Paul Giamatti came close to achieving for the title character in John Adams and Laura Linney nailed for Abigail Adams.
My biggest concern for this biopic film project is that it strikes me as a better miniseries than a movie. Ted Turner's Gettysburg, an adaptation of Michael Shaara's Pulitzer winning The Killer Angels, worked well as a movie, because it focused on one battle in the American Civil War. By contrast, Gods and Generals faltered badly, because its scope was just too wide and its characters too rich to be adequately contained in a single film. This is a lesson that was likely not lost on the makers of John Adams, who chose to go the route of a miniseries rather than a single film.
But who am I to tell Steven Spielberg what he should do? :-) If he wants to make a movie about Abraham Lincoln, I'll gladly buy my ticket, grab some popcorn and a soda, and enjoy it! Let's hope that this movie finally gets made.
And then let's hope it's wildly successful, so Hollywood will then turn its attention to the man who was truly America's greatest President and most indispensable figure....George Washington.