The newest exhibit at Lincoln Memorial University’s Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum opened this week. “Clouds and Darkness Surround Us”: The Life of Mary Todd Lincoln examines the tragic fate of Lincoln’s widow, and features original costumes from Steven Spielberg’s Oscar-winning film alongside additional material from the ALLM collection. This exhibit runs through November 20, 2015.
In conjunction with the exhibit, the museum is hosting a number of special events, including a screening of Spielberg’s film and presentations on the history of Lincoln in the movies. For more information about the exhibit and upcoming events, visit the ALLM website.
Liam Neeson, who was Steven Spielberg’s original choice for the title role in Lincoln, talked about his decision to back out of the project in an interview with GQ. The Huffington Post has an excerpt:
“We started reading this, and there was an intro, and then I see ‘Lincoln’: where I have to start speaking, and I just — a thunderbolt moment. I thought, ‘I’m not supposed to be here. This is gone. I’ve passed my sell-by date. I don’t want to play this Lincoln. I can’t be him,'” Neeson said. “It was a very strange feeling, and it was partly grief. I read very, very poorly by any standards, but then some people come up afterward and say, ‘Oh, you’re made to play Lincoln.’ I just was cringing with embarrassment.”
DVD copies of Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln will be going out to public and private schools as part of an educational outreach effort; some schools will also receive new electronic equipment. Click here for more info.
Spielberg’s Lincoln is getting slightly tweaked for overseas audiences who might not be as familiar with the historical background. From The Hollywood Reporter:
Instead of opening with a Civil War battle scene, onscreen messages first will contextualize the story against actual black-and-white images designed to provide insight into what was going on in America in 1865. It lasts about a minute.…Fox research showed that, while nearly everyone outside the U.S. had heard of Abraham Lincoln, most didn’t know about his role in the Civil War or ending slavery. So the studio has created a series of country-specific promotional shorts featuring political figures explaining the larger context.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell have jointly invited their fellow lawmakers to attend a special screening of Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln next week, followed by a discussion with Spielberg, Daniel Day-Lewis, screenwriter Tony Kushner, and Doris Kearns Goodwin. The two Senate rivals note that the story “depicts the good which is attainable when public servants put the betterment of the country ahead of short-term political interests.”
Walter Stahr, author of a new biography of William H. Seward, shares his thoughts on Spielberg’s Lincoln at the Wall Street Journal‘s website.
Pulitzer Prize-winning Civil War historian James McPherson answered some questions about Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln for the Chicago Tribune, judging the movie to be more accurate than previous depictions.