Speaker: Chuck Rolando (Standard American accent):
With a resumé that includes Raiders of the Lost Ark, E.T. and Schindler’s List, Steven Spielberg is one of the world’s most important film directors. His latest movie is about one of the United States’ most important presidents, Abraham Lincoln, who was assassinated in 1865. Spielberg talked about the film project:
Steven Spielberg (Standard American accent):
President Abraham Lincoln was a statesman, a highly effective military leader, but we basically concentrated our story on Lincoln’s political skills. Lincoln never lost the ability to make things happen through compromise. The thing he had the most faith in was the democratic process and, when it’s working, it could bring about revolutionary changes, especially when you’re a leader like Lincoln, who listened to and believed in the people.
Presenting the story on film was a challenge:
Steven Spielberg :
We focused only on the last four months of Lincoln’s life because we wanted to show Lincoln accomplishing something great, something really monumental, and that was abolishing slavery and ending the civil war. We also wanted to show that he was a man, not a monument, and our best hope of understanding and doing justice to this immensely complicated person was to depict his fight to pass the Thirteenth Amendment on the floor of the House of Representatives.
For the title role Spielberg chose a British actor, Daniel Day-Lewis:
Daniel Day-Lewis (Standard British accent):
It’s the man himself that invites you because he was so open and that was one of the most beautiful surprises. It was him that put me at my ease and gave me the thought that “Well, maybe I could try to do this!”
And, like most people, Steven Spielberg believes that Abraham Lincoln was apivotal figure in American history:
Steven Spielberg :
A lot of people think that the Emancipation Proclamation was the greatest act of Lincoln’s political life, but the Thirteenth Amendment was one of the most important events in American history because what’s more important than abolishing slavery for all time?