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Steven Spielberg Talks The Drama of ‘Lincoln,’ Hopes To Shoot Brett Ratner’s ‘The 39 Clues’ Next Year, and Defends 3D

Posted by , on September 19, 2011 at 6:17 pm 

One project that I’ve been anticipating for years and years is Steven Spielberg‘s Lincoln. It’s finally getting ready to go; Daniel Day-Lewis will reunite the Union and proclaim an emancipation, while production will commence in a few months. There’s also an incredible cast, with talent like Sally Field, Tommy Lee Jones, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, David Strathairn, John Hawkes, Lee Pace, and a lot of other people also starring.

The legendary filmmaker revealed more about his biopic to The Orlando Sentinel. I found the most interesting tidbit to be what part of the 16th President’s life he’ll be showing. We’ve known for a while that Tony Kushner‘s screenplay was based on Team of Rivals, a non-fiction book by Doris Kearns Goodwin, but Spielberg says that they’re “only focusing in on the last four months of Abraham Lincoln’s life.” Not only will they be taking a more narrow view, but this is also “not a battlefield movie.” Even though it will certainly have a few skirmishes, this will actually be “a movie about the great work Abraham Lincoln did in the last months of his life.”

That’s exactly what I want. Everyone who’s seen Saving Private Ryan (which is, in turn, everybody) knows that Spielberg can direct a battle scene better than few people to ever hold a camera, but that’s not what I’m expecting from this film. I need drama, and, damn it, you don’t cast Daniel Day-Lewis as Abraham Lincoln and not let him do his thing. Hearing about this intent leaves me very happy.

Spielberg also mentioned something about the release date; all that was revealed is a general timeframe, namely “AFTER next year’s election.” This is on purpose, since he “didn’t want it to become political fodder.” It would be strange for this to come out in the Oscar-unfriendly month of October, but the reasoning mentioned here just makes perfect sense; thinking about two candidates saying, “You know, in Lincoln…” makes me want to vomit. I’m guessing a Thanksgiving release is possible, but Christmas might be the sweet spot.

He also provided an update on The 39 Clues, something that we don’t care nearly as much about — it’s directed by Brett Ratner, after all. Originally set to be helmed by The Beard, his resources were occupied by the multiple projects he’s either directed or will be directing, so someone else has picked up the pieces.

Based on the multimedia series — which includes books, cards, and online games — the adaptation is scripted by Jeff Nathanson. He’s a scribe not unfamiliar with both directors; in addition to working on the screenplay for The Terminal and Catch Me If You Can, Nathanson also wrote the two Rush Hour sequels and the upcoming Tower Heist. This update was actually kind of small — everyone involved is “hoping to film that next year.” The biggest question surrounding the production is if anyone actually cares.

And, of course, Spielberg had to throw in a defense of 3D, something that makes sense when you remember that Tintin was shot in the format. Trying to dispel any talk that it’s dead, he offered this argument: “It’s just waiting for the right film to come along that will make an audience want to see it in 3D and not pay the lesser ticket price to see it in 2D.” Citing Avatar and Cars 2 as pro and con examples, respectively, he feels that it’s “up to the audience to discriminate whether or not they think this or that is worth seeing in 3D.”

I can actually understand where he’s coming from; I’ll see Tintin and Hugo in 3D, because filmmakers that I have immense respect for made it with that in mind. Not that I don’t hate the format and want it to die, but some exceptions can be made.

Are you looking forward to Lincoln? How about The 39 Clues? Do his 3D statements ring true to you?


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