A Reluctant Daniel Day-Lewis Could Have Scuppered Spielberg's Lincoln Movie
Daniel Day Lewis is one of the most accomplished actors in the game, but even he initially found himself reluctant at taking on the gigantic task of playing one of the USA’s greatest ever Presidents. Day-Lewis stars in Lincoln as the 16th leader of America, but said it took some coercion from the project’s director Steven Spielberg to get him to play the role.
“I don't think I ever did know that it was the right choice, but I ran out of excuses, at a certain point” the actor told Collider at his eventual decision to take the part. "Steven put the idea in front of me and it was not that I didn't take it seriously, from the word go, but it seemed inconceivable to me that I could be the person to help him do this thing that he wished to do” the Oscar winner added."Least of all did I want to be responsible for irrevocably staining the reputation of the greatest President this country's ever known. It was not just in a self-serving way, but quite literally it seemed to me a very difficult thing to try to tell this story in such a way that it could live. I just really felt that I wasn't the person to do that."
Yet it was Day-Lewis involvement that was crucial to Spielberg – in the same interview he even admitted he wouldn’t have made the film without him. "I didn't say this to anybody” said the director, “but if he had finally and ultimately said no, I would never have made the movie. It just wouldn't have been in my life, anymore. It'd be gone."