DreamWorks Pictures has paid an undisclosed sum for the film rights to Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Doris Kearns Goodwin’s as yet unpublished biography on Abraham Lincoln.
Insiders said the book may be a project Stephen Spielberg chooses to direct, with DreamWorks Pictures co-head Laurie McDonald overseeing the film’s development. Spielberg helmed the acclaimed historical pic “Amistad” in 1998.
Untitled biography is expected to be published by Simon & Schuster in the fall of 2002 or early in 2003. Goodwin will focus on Lincoln’s White House years — 1861-1865.
In a recent interview, Goodwin said about the book: “I want to create a view of Lincoln through the people who knew him best. Relationships are always what interest me.”
The author added that she will look closely at Lincoln’s relations with his secretaries John G. Nicolay and John Hay, as well as cabinet officers including William Steward and Edwin Stanton.
In optioning Goodwin’s book, DreamWorks turns to an historian of the highest order. The former Harvard professor of history won the Pulitzer Prize for “No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, The Home Front in World War II.” She also wrote such lauded books as “Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream,” “The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys — An American Saga” and “Private Lives of Our Public Figures.”
If Spielberg winds up making a biopic on Lincoln, he will not be the first to do so. He joins such distinguished company as John Ford, whose “Young Mr. Lincoln” starred Henry Fonda, and D. W. Griffith, whose Stephen Vincent Benet-penned “Abraham Lincoln” featured Walter Huston.
Spielberg’s “A.I” is due in theaters in late June. His next project is the Tom Cruise starrer “Minority Report” for Fox, currently in pre-production in Los Angeles.
Ron Bernstein of ICM/Los Angeles and Amanda Urban of ICM/New York repped Goodwin on her pact with DreamWorks.