Daniel Day-Lewis Will Be Lincoln

For Steven Spielberg...

Dear Daniel Day-Lewis. You are a great actor. But we hope you recall your training from The Boxer, because Liam Neeson will be coming for you. And – yes, we’re digging out the old joke just this once for old time's sake – he’s got a very particular set of skills and we fear they will be employed to hunt you down. Why? DreamWorks has just announced that Day-Lewis will take the role of Abraham Lincoln in Steven Spielberg’s long-gestating biopic. You know, the one that Neeson has been linked to for years.

It really does feel as though Spielberg has been talking about this one since the day after Lincoln himself died. But now, with an official announcement via DreamWorks, the director has committed to actually make the thing.

“Daniel Day-Lewis would have always been counted as one of the greatest of actors, were he from the silent era, the golden age of film or even some time in cinema's distant future. I am grateful and inspired that our paths will finally cross with Lincoln,” says Spielberg.

Lincoln will be based on Pulitzer Price-winning historian Doris Kearns Goodwin’s book Team of Rivals, which chronicles the president’s struggles with his cabinet as he tries to end slavery around the time of the Civil War’s last gasp. Tony Kushner has been hard at work crafting a screenplay while Spielberg picked film after film to make before finally biting the bullet on the Honest Abe pic.

There’s no solid start date yet, though DreamWorks’ release mentions autumn 2011 as the likely kick-off point and a release date pencilled in for late 2012. Which means, if he holds to his schedule, that he’ll start work on Robopocalypse right afterwards. Sounds like a tough job, but then he’s juggled historical epics and sci-fi before, working on Schindler’s List even as he edited Jurassic Park.

As to how Liam Neeson might feel… All joshing aside, he was never formally attached, and told Empire in our A-Team feature this June that he's happy to let it go, feeling that "there are other things I'd be quicker to pursue," we doubt he's losing any sleep...