Recently, on “Oprah’s Next Chapter,” Oprah Winfrey interviewed Academy Award-winning actor Daniel Day-Lewis about playing Lincoln in Steven Spielberg’s most recent movie.
Daniel Day-Lewis explained, during the interview, that he believes it’s important to take time off between projects. As he said, “I would very soon become threadbare if I were only lurching from one film set to another without any nourishment.” Spielberg wanted to film the movie in three months time; Day-Lewis agreed to one year.
As Spielberg explained during the interview, “It was a conditional yes. It was, ‘Yes, I want to work with you. I want to play Abraham Lincoln in Tony Kushner’s script, but I want a year. Not just because I need a year to prepare for it, but I have a life. And I can do this in a year.’”
Interestingly, in the interview, Spielberg brought up Lincoln’s character flaw of favoring one child, Tad, over another, Robert. Many sources have pointed to this conflict and to this short falling of Lincoln’s. In one letter that President Abraham Lincoln wrote to General Grant, he asked Grant “as a friend” for Robert to serve as a member of Grant’s “military family with some nominal rank.” This is certainly a concession that Lincoln ended up making for the son who begged to be able to be of service during the war.
Day-Lewis explained how he saw the conflict between Lincoln and Robert. As Day-Lewis said to Oprah,
“When Robert, his first son, was born, Lincoln was on the judicial circuit in Illinois which took him away from home for six months at a time. He was an absentee father and absentee husband. It’s very hard to make that work. Something’s just occurred to me: A real character flaw is implicitly a flaw that we don’t recognize in ourselves.”
The movie “Lincoln” has become a powerful piece and a great way to offer a history lesson to today’s children about leadership, character flaw and forgiveness.