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Daniel Day-Lewis to Play Abraham Lincoln in Steven Spielberg-Directed Biopic

The Oscar winner will take on the role of the 16th president in the long-in-development biopic.

Daniel Day-Lewis and Abraham Lincoln
Getty Images

DreamWorks Studios just announced that Daniel Day-Lewis will take on the role of President Abraham Lincoln in the long-in-development biopic to be directed by Steven Spielberg.

Lincoln, which playwright Tony Kushner has adapted from the Doris Kearns Goodwin book Team of Rivals, has been on Spielberg's docket for years, with Liam Neeson once attached to star as the 16th president. Kushner also co-wrote Spielberg's Munich, which earned him an Academy Award nomination.

Kathleen Kennedy and Spielberg are producing the project, which the director will begin filming next fall.

“Daniel Day-Lewis would have always been counted as one of the greatest of actors, were he from the silent era, the golden age of film or even some time in cinema's distant future," said Spielberg. "I am grateful and inspired that our paths will finally cross with Lincoln."

DreamWorks expects to have the film in theaters late in 2012 through Disney's Touchstone label.

Day-Lewis most recently starred in the musical Nine and Paul Thomas Anderson's 2007 drama There Will Be Blood, for which he won an Oscar for best actor. Though Day-Lewis is British, it's notable that Raymond Massey, who was Canadian, won the was nominated for a best actor Oscar in 1940 for portraying the famous president in Abe Lincoln in Illinois.

"Throughout his career, [Daniel] has been exceptionally selective in his choice of material," said DreamWorks co-chairman and CEO Stacey Snider, "which makes us feel even more fortunate that he has chosen to join with us for Lincoln."

Spielberg has often delved into American history, in films such as Amistad, Catch Me If You Can and Saving Private Ryan. Lincoln will focus on the political collision of Lincoln and his cabinet over abolition and the end of the Civil War.

The director is currently filming War Horse, which Touchstone will release Dec. 28, 2011, and he is set to start filming Robopocalypse in January 2012 for a 2013 release. So the Lincoln shoot will take place in between. Spielberg also directed The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn, which Paramount and Sony will distribute Dec. 23, 2011.