Filming is ready to begin on Steven Spielberg’s next movie, “Lincoln,” starring Ballymena-born actor Liam Neeson.
In a role that’s set to be the Irish actor’s greatest to date, Neeson will play U.S. President Abraham Lincoln in the biopic opposite Sally Field, who will portray his wife, Mary Todd Lincoln.
The highly anticipated film, based on the bestselling Lincoln biography “Team of Rivals” by Doris Kearns Goodwin, was originally scheduled for a 2009 release date, but was put on hold when directing great Spielberg began work on the forthcoming “The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn,” an animated adventure featuring the voice of Daniel Craig.
According to Sight & Sound film magazine, now that filming has wrapped up for “Tintin,” Spielberg is free to begin work on his Lincoln project, which is set for a 2011 release date.
"Lincoln" will be even more relevant now with Barack Obama in the White House. Obama has named Lincoln as his hero, and his modeled his all-star cabinet after the "team of rivals" concept of Lincoln's officers.
The award-winning director first approached Neeson about the epic role around four years ago. Neeson starred in Spielberg’s 1993 Oscar-winning Holocaust film “Schindler’s List,” in which he played another real-life person, Oskar Schindler.
The famous Irish actor, who is currently filming "Clash of the Titans" and recently signed on to play Col. John Hannibal Smith in a film version of "The A-Team," has portrayed other characters based on famous people in the past, including Michael Collins and Alfred Kinsey.
Neeson, who tragically lost his wife Natasha Richardson this past March in a tragic ski accident, has stated privately he believes that playing Abraham Lincoln will be the role of a lifetime, and that he is looking forward immensely to the project.
The actor has expressed his dedication to the project through his intense preparation; the Antrim native has read 22 books about Lincoln and traveled to Washington D.C. to study the American president’s personal letters.
“The Big Man” stands at 6 ft. 4 in., the same height as Lincoln, as reports have pointed out, and was Spielberg’s first choice to play him in his biopic.