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Wall Street Journal’s Fall Preview includes ‘Lincoln’

Fall Season 2012: Movies


Six years ago, Steven Spielberg asked playwright Tony Kushner, who had written the screenplay for “Munich,” if he’d be interested in working with him on another ambitious project: scripting historian Doris Kearns Goodwin’s book, “Team of Rivals: the Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln,” about Lincoln’s delicate work with wartime cabinet members William H. Seward, Salmon P. Chase and Edward Bates.

“This is the living definition of an unadaptable book,” says Mr. Kushner, whose “Angels in America” won a Pulitzer Prize. “It’s a four-way political biography.”

A few months later, after Mr. Spielberg convened a panel of 20 Lincoln historians at a New York hotel to discuss lingering questions the filmmakers had about the Great Emancipator, Mr. Kushner was overwhelmed. “It seems like an impossible thing,” he recalls telling Ms. Goodwin. She responded, “I can’t promise you’re going to succeed,” but assured him that getting to know Lincoln better was its own reward. 

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