Who will be playing the young Abe Lincoln in “The Green Blade Rises”?
Lost in all the hype surrounding Abraham Lincoln is a film scheduled to be released next year, produced by the legendary Terence Malick and to be directed by rookie A.J Edwards, who has worked with Malick in various capacities on some of his most recent films, The Tree of Life and To the Wonder. This film is going to be quite different from what we have seen over the last year or so, in that it will tackle Lincoln’s early years as a lawyer and all the influences in his life that turned him into the man that became president. Wes Bentley will be in the role of Lincoln’s first teacher, while Diane Kruger and Jason Clarke will play his parents. As for the actor who will be playing our 16th president, it is still a mystery. For a film that is in post-production, very few details have been released and we know nothing intricate of the storyline except what I posted above. When I started typing this, I did not realize it would become one of those, “All I have to say is that I have nothing to say” posts, but at least the information is getting out there, as we try to investigate further. Stay tuned for more…I hope.
You can visit their IMDb page here.
Where do I begin? This was a film that I had so many expectations for, and most of them were met. Before I get into this review, I want to say right off the bat that I think this film might be very difficult for anyone other than a history or Civil War buff to truly enjoy. Not to say that this is a dull film, because it is not, and is filled with complexity and enlivening dialogue, but as an actor once told me when it comes to Civil War films, “One bearded guy giving a speech to a bunch of bearded guys in one scene looks exactly the same to the general public as another bearded guy giving a speech to a bunch of bearded guys in the next one.” I feel that it would be unfair to use that quote to classify exactly what Lincoln is, but due to the fact that this film is entirely dialogue-driven, and lasts nearly two hours and a half, it might be a bit tough for some people to get through.
For this next interview, I had the chance to talk to an actor named Michael Kennedy, who appeared in Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln as the character of Hiram Price, a Republican congressman who he found out, through research, actually had a personal connection to his great-grandfather. Kennedy has also appeared in films such as Patch Adams, True Colors, and Evan Almighty, and has acted professionally since 1953, while “acting up” since 1943, as he said in his email. I think you will find that this is a very entertaining interview, as he elaborated on a lot of behind-the-scenes information, and what it was like to work with such a famous director. You can read about that, and much more, in our interview below, which was conducted by phone this morning:
As promised, I bring you an interview with a cast-member from Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln, a man who I have chatted with once before, when I was in the middle of coverage of the Gods and Generals Extended Director’s Cut release back in July 2011, as he played Captain James B. Ricketts. The actor’s name is David Foster, who, once he landed a role in the highly anticipated film about Abraham Lincoln, promised he would allow me to interview him when the time was right. With major outlets like the Washington Post and others clamoring to talk to anyone involved with the film, David came to me first, and I thank him immensely for that. Aside from the two films mentioned, he is also going to appear in yet another Civil War related film, Killing Lincoln, a docudrama to appear on National Geographic next year, in the role of James Gifford.
In getting back to Lincoln, David had the opportunity to partake in two roles: one as a Radical Republican congressman, and much more importantly, the stand-in for Daniel Day-Lewis as Abraham Lincoln. I have seen pictures of David dressed up as Honest Abe, and although we cannot yet post them, I must say that he looks outstanding in the role. So, without further adieu, I present my interview with David, conducted earlier today by email, shown below:
762 posts into this blog’s history, and this is the first time I’ve ever written about somebody’s hair…
Many people have been a bit perplexed at the hair Tommy Lee Jones is sporting for his role as Thaddeus Stevens in Lincoln, citing it as an ugly and obvious wig, and with the comments I have been reading about it, you would think that it is so bad it would detract away from his performance, which of course, we have yet to see in great detail due to him only having a few snippets of screen-time in the trailers. Anyway, yes, the cat is out of the bag: the Jones wig is simply awful. In fact, even on set, according to a source, it was jokingly referred to as “the ShamWow”. Now, before I start to sound like just another person going off on a tirade about an insignificant detail in the long run of things, why don’t we do a little research into the real Thaddeus Stevens, as maybe, just maybe, this heavily researched, $50 million epic directed by one of cinema’s greatest, might actually have a reason for giving Jones such a terrible mop. Well, it just so happens that the real Stevens wore a wig because he suffered Alopecia, a condition that caused him to go bald at a young age (gee, and all this time I thought he just had an aversion to combs). The wig he wore was noted to be “ill-fitting” and is actually the catalyst for what I think is one of the funniest smaller moments in history.
I would just like to start off this post with an announcement, to tell you all that the official website for Copperhead: The War at Home will be experiencing a complete redesign and upgrade in the coming days. This post below was going to be my latest write-up, and since I don’t know if I will be able to post it immediately, I wanted to share it here, and also because I have not written anything on the film for this blog in quite some time, after moving official coverage over there. Please enjoy!
When you think of directors paying tribute to past artists in their films, what immediately comes to mind? For me, it would be an instance in a horror movie, where, when someone is getting killed, or if something frightening is happening, you hear music that is eerily similar to what Alfred Hitchcock used in Psycho, during the infamous shower scene. How about paying tribute to an older actor or actress, who experienced some greatness earlier in their career, but is now getting on in years? In The Night of the Hunter (1955), director Charles Laughton, an ardent admirer of D.W Griffith and his many castings of actress Lillian Gish, led him to multiple close-ups of the elder actress’s face in the only film he ever directed, to reflect some of her past glory as a superstar of the silent era and also his admiration, though she was not as familiar with what was the present-day audience. As yet another example, in 1957, for the filming of his epic meditation on man, fate, life, and death, Ingmar Bergman used medieval religious paintings and ballads as the basis for his setting and haunting cinematography of The Seventh Seal.
“Lincoln” Watch is how we are going to keep tabs on anything and everything related to the upcoming film, as we wind down to its November 9 World Premiere, and November 16 wide release. How excited are you?
As expected, the MPAA handed down a PG-13 rating for Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln. To me, this is a very important part of the film’s potential success, because it would have affected the size of the possible viewing audience, and whether or not that film would be available in schools for use as a teaching tool after it gets released to DVD. The actual description of the rating reads as: “For an intense scene of war violence, some images of carnage and brief strong language”. So it appears that people are going to see a bit more war than they originally thought, and a realistic depiction at that. I also want to make mention that people on message boards seem to have been thrown into a tizzy at the fact that part of the rating is due to strong language. While most people are having fun with it (“Hey, maybe Mr. Lincoln drops the F-bomb!”), some are raising some serious points as to what the language could be. PG-13 movies are allowed one usage of the F-word to still retain their rating, but I highly, highly doubt that word will be used here. Someone else brought up the possibility of the N-word being used, which could fit in with the intense scenes of debating about the slavery issue. Still, I do not think I have seen a movie made after the late 1970′s that used that word and was not rated-R. Why are the tiny particulars of this so important? Well, to be honest, they’re really not, but it does give us something to talk about, like maybe whether or not some of Abraham Lincoln’s bawdy jokes will make it into the film.
We are now exactly two months away from the premiere of Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln (excited yet?), and I just wanted to give my thoughts on a few things below:
The Voice of Daniel Day-Lewis
If you browse the film message boards, namely IMDb’s, you will find that there are quite a lot of people disappointed at the voice/accent Day-Lewis is using to portray Abraham Lincoln, citing it as too high-pitched and not deep enough. The reason for these attacks (there seem to be quite a few people who have too much time on their hands) is because people are used to seeing our 16th president presented with a deep, raspy voice, much like what Gregory Peck did for him in The Blue and the Gray, and to a lesser extent, Lance Henriksen in The Day Lincoln was Shot, one of my favorites. However, if you do your historical research, you will learn that Lincoln’s voice was actually the opposite of how Hollywood has shown over the years. It was a “high and shrill” voice that had a kind of country-bumpkin twang to it. People in his time were originally caught off-guard by it, expecting a man of his size to sound differently, but by all reports, his voice quickly grew on the crowd, especially during speeches. I think the only actor to come close to getting it right prior to this was Sam Waterston, who starred in Gore Vidal’s 1988 made-for-TV vision of the same name as this one. It must have been very difficult for Day-Lewis to continuously use this accent, as he is a method actor who remains in character the entire time he is on set, but that is what separates him from the rest. He is one of the best actors of our time for a reason.
We all knew this was going to be good, but up until viewing the newly released trailer for Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln, I was hesitant to label this an epic. Well, after viewing these two minutes, I think that is exactly what we will be dealing with once this film hits theaters on November 16th. In the direction that Hollywood has been heading in recent years, could this be the last great, big-budget historical epic? One would certainly hope not, but this will definitely have to serve as our Civil War fill, at least for a while. This trailer has given us a little bit of everything, not just glimpses of what are sure to be Academy Award-nominated performances from Daniel Day-Lewis and Tommy Lee Jones, as Thaddeus Stevens, (I’m also looking forward to Hal Holbrook’s performance and will bet you everything I own that the score from John Williams will win him his sixth Oscar) but of all the other items that are going to shape this film. A pleasant surprise to me here is the inclusion of battle scenes, and what looks like Richmond burning. Though marketed as a biopic, the scope of the storyline may be a lot more vast than we could have ever imagined, hence the usage of the word “epic”.
Screenwriter Justin Dombrowski on the set of “American Museum”, a TV show currently having its pilot episode worked on.
The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane is one of those timeless classics that most people were forced to read in school when they were children. Hopefully, they had a pleasurable experience with the book like I had, when I read it when I was younger. It is also a book that given its high status amongst literature, that a well-known film adaptation would have been made of it by now. Unfortunately, only two have been made and both were anything but memorable. The first, back in 1951 directed by John Huston and starring Audie Murphy, showed all the promise of an epic, but due to heavy disagreements between the director and the studio (prompting film historians to actually refer to it as a “war”), saw his two-hour version hacked down in the editing room to a mere 69 minutes. According to reports, test screenings were a disaster and it then underwent more edits, including adding narration, which the subject of this interview below indicates was a big mistake, before it found itself becoming just another mediocre movie. The complete tale was not told, and audiences expressed their disapproval of the fragmented storyline.