Civil War buffs have a film to look forward to, and one to hope for! Premiering at next month’s Toronto International Film Fest is The Conspirator, dramatising Mary Surratt’s story. Directed by Robert Redford, it stars Robin Wright Penn as Mrs. Surratt and James “Hot Scot” McAvoy as her attorney, Frederick Aiken. (Unfortunately, that “directed by Redford” usually indicates a dull movie.)
Another film – one to which I had been casting a nervous eye – appears to be on hold again: Steven Spielberg has been adapting Doris Kearns Goodwin’s fabulous Team of Rivals, and had cast Liam Neeson as Old Abe. Neeson has pulled out, though, apparently citing his old-erness, at 58, feeling unable to portray a man who died at 56. I’m torn on this, as I’m anxious to see what Spielberg makes of the source material, but somewhat glad Neeson won’t be starring. He’s a decent actor, but apart from his height has few commonalities in appearance with Lincoln. The question now is, who will play him?
The best Lincoln I’ve ever seen was Gregory Peck’s portrayal in The Blue and the Gray. It’s a shame Peck has gone to that great casting call in the sky – I’d have loved to watch him Linc it up again.