Daniel Day-Lewis was reluctant to play his role, and Sally Field almost didn’t get hers! It seems that getting the cast together for Lincoln wasn’t an easy thing to do. It’s already been widely reported that Day-Lewis was initially reluctant to play the role of 16th American President Abraham Lincoln, such was its gravitas; for Field though the problem was slightly different – she was potentially too old to play Lincoln’s wife Mary Todd.
USA Today reports that Field was initially broached to play the first lady when Liam Neeson was attached to appear as Lincoln; the pair are of similar age. However, Day-Lewis is some 10 years younger than the actress, whilst Field is also 15 years older than Todd was at the time. Her fears were reportedly confirmed after Day-Lewis got the main role and Spielberg told her he couldn’t see her playing Todd. She insisted on a test but still didn’t get the part.
However Spielberg wasn’t sure about his decision and set up a meeting between her and Day-Lewis, where it all clicked into place. "He came and walked across the room and he was totally my darling, Mr. Lincoln," says Field. "And I stood and gave him my hand. I said, 'Mr. Lincoln — '" The rest was history, as they say.