I have known actor and filmmaker Ed Mantell for a few years, and he is always good for a story or two. After working on so many Civil War related documentaries and features (and many other genres as well), it is safe to say that his insight has helped me understand the film-making process a lot more clearly than when I started blogging three years ago. Ed was recently involved with Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln, as a background talent appearing in numerous scenes (quite prominently in one set in the “war room”, where he noted that he face was actually visible for five seconds), and attended the premiere in Richmond, Virginia this past week. Ed was kind enough to share his review of the film with us:
Ed’s Review: “I had the pleasure of attending the Richmond Premiere of Spielberg’s Lincoln last Thursday night at the Byrd Theater. Having worked 20 days on the film last November to December as background talent, I was very excited to see the finished product. I must say from my experiences on set working with Mr. Spielberg and Daniel Day-Lewis along with the rest of the stellar cast, that my anticipation levels were quite high, and I was not disappointed! First off, let me say that if you’re anticipating a “War” movie with big battle scenes, you will be disappointed. There are some battle scenes but the film focuses around Abraham Lincoln and the passage of the 13th Amendment and his inner battle with Congress at the time to make it happen. I don’t want to give away too much, but most people will leave with a different view of Lincoln’s motives, actions, and the way things were done in the day and possibly now in politics for that matter. Daniel Day Lewis’ portrayal of Lincoln is fantastic, his research and immersion into his character are to be applauded, and Sally Field’s portrayal of Mary Todd blew me away! David Strathairn, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, James Spader, Hal Holbrook, and Tommy Lee Jones along with the rest of the cast all brought their “A-game” to the table. It’s by far the most “Historically Accurate” production I’ve worked on in quite awhile, though there are a few embellishments. All in all, it’s a very powerful and enjoyable production and it was an honor and a privilege to be a part of it. Spielberg is a true master of his craft and he spared nothing in the making of Lincoln—he has raised the bar.”
More on Ed: He has been in the Industry for over twelve years both in front and behind the camera. His acting career began over a decade ago as a military extra for the History Channel. Since then, Ed has appeared in over thirty productions as an extra, featured extra and principal in television, independent film and feature film. Some of Ed’s latest feature film work can be seen in Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln and Ridley Scott’s Killing Lincoln. Ed has also crewed over fifty productions in one capacity or another and is currently involved with two production companies, the first being 8112 Studios out of Arlington, Virginia, in a Producer/first assistant director capacity along with some time in front of the camera for them as talent. Ed is also co-partner of History Outlaw Productions with his offices in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. He is currently involved in producing and directing their current project American Museum a multi-episode series with two other historical projects in development. He’s also slated as Production Manager for The Guide, an Indie feature filming this December in Maine. Not only is Ed a well rounded actor, he also brings his wealth of production knowledge to the table, and I am honored to know him!