Steven Spielberg has been working on Lincoln for about five years. It’s been a passion project of his because he really, really loves the 16th President of the United States of America. Finally, he has his Lincoln movie and it’s pretty damn good!
The movie did have some problems though. It was originally supposed to star Liam Neeson, but he stepped off the project. Daniel Day-Lewis then emerged as the titular character. But how did that happen? Spielberg told Oprah, of all people, and it involved Leonardo DiCaprio.
For a time I was going do it with Liam Neeson. But then, you know, we just decided to move in two different directions. I was sitting around at home one day realizing I’m never going to make “Lincoln.” It’s just never going to happen. And Leo DiCaprio came over for dinner that night; it was just my wife and Leo and myself. We were sitting around and Leo said, “What’s happening with Lincoln? You’ve been, what, five years on this thing?” And I said, “Longer.” I told Leo the whole story, and I told him I had tried to approach Daniel on another screenplay and I wasn’t able to re-approach Daniel. And the next day, my assistant said “Leo’s on the phone.” He said, “You got a pencil? Write this down. This is Daniel Day-Lewis’s cell phone. He’s expecting your call.” Leo had gone to bat for me and had called Daniel on the telephone and got Daniel and I together. Everything at that point started really moving quickly.
Leo DiCaprio – agent extraordinaire. He must have used some of the inception techniques he learned from Christopher Nolan to get Day-Lewis to speak to Spielberg. Also, of course an actor like DiCaprio gives Spielberg Day-Lewis’ number in the most dramatic way possible. [Huffington Post]