Did You Know That Daniel Day-Lewis Originally Turned Down Lincoln? Steven Spielberg Reveals The Rejection Letter!

LincolnMy thanks to Edward Davis for the heads up.

Steven Spielberg had chased Daniel Day-Lewis to play Abraham Lincoln for 9 years and back in 2003, after a sit down meeting with the actor, he received the following letter (thx Edward via THR):

Dear Steven,

It was a real pleasure just to sit and talk with you. I listened very carefully to what you had to say about this compelling history, and I’ve since read the script and found it in all the detail in which it describe these monumental events and in the compassionate portraits of all the principal characters, both powerful and moving. I can’t account for how at any given moment I feel the need to explore life as opposed to another, but I do know that I can only do this work if I feel almost as if there is no choice; that a subject coincides inexplicably with a very personal need and a very specific moment in time. In this case, as fascinated as I was by Abe, it was the fascination of a grateful spectator who longed to see a story told, rather than that of a participant. That’s how I feel now in spite of myself, and though I can’t be sure that this won’t change, I couldn’t dream of encouraging you to keep it open on a mere possibility. I do hope this makes sense Steven, I’m glad you’re making the film, I wish you the strength for it, and I send both my very best wishes and my sincere gratitude to you for having considered me.

So how did Spielberg finally get his man to take the role of the mighty bearded one? Cue: Leonardo DiCaprio. Armed with Tony Kushner’s new script it was DiCaprio who contacted Day-Lewis (the pair worked together on Scorsese’s GANGS OF NEW YORK), told him to read the new draft and that Spielberg wont make the film without him. He did and…

The result – a $145m US domestic gross (and counting) critically loved film that is winning awards everywhere for Day-Lewis and is a surefire big hitter at this years Oscars!

LINCOLN releases in AUSTRALIA on FEBRUARY 7, 2013 through 20TH CENTURY FOX