Leave a Comment

Though it's not scheduled to come into theaters until three days after this year's election, it's fascinating to read or learn more about Steven Spielberg's Lincoln while we're in the throes of yet another grueling political cycle. The movie focuses on a tiny sliver of Lincoln's life-- the four months before his death-- and tells the ungainly and sometimes cynical story of how he managed to pass the 13th Amendment to outlaw slavery, even as the Civil War still raged on. You learn that Lincoln was an inherently decent man, but also that he wasn't above political tricks to get his issues across-- and that the House floor of the 1860s was, if anything, more raucous and contentious than the one we have today.

When you're dealing with a historical figure as fascinating as Lincoln, and you've got a filmmaker as interesting as Spielberg and an actor as committed as Daniel Day-Lewis, every detail that pops up is somehow great. See it for yourself in the below video from last night's 60 Minutes, in which Spielberg reveals all kinds of great stuff-- that he wore a suit on set every day because he wanted to fit in with the cast, that they used as a prop an actual watch owned by Lincoln, or that they changed the names of some of the Democrats in the House who voted against slavery to respect the wishes of those people's ancestors. That and much more below:

Just when you thought you'd gotten all the geeky details they'd offer, John Williams pops up to play the Jaws theme on the piano himself. And you can see right there what a big difference there is between Williams's most famous, booming work and the score on Lincoln, which is understated almost to a fault. You can read more about Lincoln in my review from the New York Film Festival, and see it for yourself when it opens November 9.