Daniel Day-Lewis Will Play Abe Lincoln Better Than Any American Could

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daniel day-lewis
Daniel Day-Lewis getting ready to play Lincoln
Much more than a movie star, Daniel Day-Lewis defines the word "actor." The man is a true chameleon, capable of virtually disappearing into his roles -- I don't know about you, but I couldn't even look at him the same way for a while after Gangs of New York. If there's anyone who can play Abraham Lincoln, it's Daniel Day-Lewis.

Which is why it's fairly ridiculous that there's been some controversy over the Academy Award-winner being cast in the title role of Steven Spielberg's upcoming biopic, Lincoln. Apparently some movie buffs are miffed because Daniel Day-Lewis isn't American. Gasp! He's a Brit! Okay, first of all, DDL could play a cardboard box convincingly. Secondly, isn't that kind of the whole point of acting? Taking on a persona that's completely different from your own?

Maybe it's because, historically, we revere Abraham Lincoln (perhaps even more so now. Hey, remember when American presidents did good stuff, like abolish slavery?). I suppose that could be why there's this territorial thing surrounding his memory.

But Spielberg isn't putting together a tribute reel, he's making a film. Directors are allowed as much artistic license as they want. (Besides, it's not like Spielberg's instincts are ever off the mark.) If Spielberg wanted to portray Lincoln as a closeted cannibal or a frustrated tap-dancer, that would be well within his rights as a filmmaker. (Of course he won't -- just making a point.)

And the test of a good actor is their ability to stretch and inhabit a wide range of characters. Think of Sean Penn in Milk. Philip Seymour Hoffman in Capote. Meryl Streep in Doubt. Charlize Theron in Monster. Hilary Swank in Boys Don't Cry. See what I'm getting at?

I have no doubt that Daniel Day-Lewis will make a magnificent Abraham Lincoln. (I have no doubt that Daniel Day-Lewis would make a magnificent Mary Todd Lincoln! A cardboard box, that man could play. Seriously.)

Do you think an American actor should have been cast as Abraham Lincoln instead of Daniel Day-Lewis?


Image via Splash

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nonmember avatar Guest

Understandable. I was similarly outraged when they chose an American to play Bridget Jones.

babyb... babybirch

Daniel Day Lewis has been in American historic and period pieces before . There Will Be Blood, Last of the Mohicans, and the Crucible, to name a few . He is a masterful actor . He, in essence, allows his character to take over and really becomes another persona . I know he will capture all the interesting facets of Lincoln - his charm, his strength, his weaknesses, his melancholy ... If there's one actor who could truly get into the character of Lincoln, it is DDL .


I think that most Americans revere Lincoln so much, they would be a bit biased on playing the role as anything other than honorable, brave, and strong as he has been highly heroized - thus making the movie one-dimenstional . That would certainly make for a boring and inaccurate movie .

NatAndCo NatAndCo

Name another actor who could do it if you don't agree with DDL. What's wrong with having a non-american (gasp! The horror) who will do the role justice?

Karmi... KarmicChild

The man is brilliant.

Melis... Melissa042807

Daniel Day Lewis is brilliant. He will do that role more justice than any other actor ever could, because it's just how he rolls. And he will do it with the utmost respect to Abraham Lincoln's memory. So the problem is...what? 

Joe Michaels

I wouldn't have a problem if Daniel Day-Lewis was cast as Mary Lincoln! The man's an icon and a genius. Why do we Americans take such a ridiculous posture about things? And, I believe Abe was our country's best president, statesman and humanitarian. NP here...

Tammatha Brown

One of the best actors of the last century right up their with Anthony Hopkins & Robert Duvall.

nonmember avatar Quaternion

Why are we Americans miffed at this? Well, lets turn it around. "Tom Hanks to play Sir Winston Churchill." Or "Meryl Streep to play Lady Thatcher!" No, wait...

nonmember avatar TBowser

Brits would freak out if an American ever played James Bond (and he's fictional), or Churchill. DDL is remarkable, so I think he probably did a great job (although voice sounds weird), but I also understand how Americans feel a great deal of pride for Lincoln.

Quaternion: I remember how PO'd the Brits were when Renee Zellweger took that role as Bridget Jones, so it's not just us.

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