Sunday, 24 February 2013

If you don't know history, then you don't know anything.

You are a leaf that doesn't know it is part of a tree...said Michael Crichton, and that's much how I felt having watched Lincoln last night - wanting to see for myself what all the fuss was about, prior to The Oscars.

I was horribly confused by Democrats and Republicans in that film. I was sure in my own mind, based on following current affairs, that it would have been the Democrats that were the Abolitionists, not the Republicans. More study required...

Spot the real Lincoln...Daniel Day Lewis was simply mind-blowingly incredible in the role (and I tried very hard not to be swept along by the hype - but it was impossible not to be in total awe.)


I loved what Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian film reviewer, said: "And what a feat from Day-Lewis: the nearest thing a 21st-century biopic can get to a seance."

As a screenplay writer myself, she says, laughing hollowly at considering herself in the same breath as, in this case, Tony Kushner, I was interested in its history. The screenplay's history, I mean, as well as Lincoln's.

Based in part on Doris Kearns Goodwin's biography of Lincoln, Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln,  the screenplay was first written by John Logan in 2001, then another version was commissioned, this time to be written by playwright Paul Webb, around 2006. Spielberg was still dissatisfied. In 2008, I think, Tony Kushner was hired.

His first draft was FIVE HUNDRED PAGES (a screenplay is usually about 100-120!) 


He joked he was on his "967,000th book about Abraham Lincoln," and finally narrowed the plot down to the two months in Lincoln's life when he was preoccupied with adopting the Thirteenth Amendment.

Filming must have taken place in 2012 - more than ten years after the first screenplay was written.

I think perhaps I get too impatient too quickly!


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