Steven Spielberg has tapped David Strathairn to play William Seward, Abraham Lincoln’s Secretary of State, in the DreamWorks drama “Lincoln.”
Seward was an outspoken abolitionist and one of the most loyal members of Lincoln’s wartime cabinet.
Tony Kushner wrote the script, which is based on Doris Kearns Goodwin’s bestselling book “Team of Rivals.” Spielberg is producing with Kathleen Kennedy.
Daniel Day-Lewis is set to star as Lincoln, while Sally Field will play his wife, Mary Todd Lincoln.
Production is expected to begin this fall in Virginia, with an anticipated fourth quarter release in 2012 through Disney’s Touchstone label.
“Throughout his career, David Strathairn has consistently delivered performances of strength and character. That’s why I am so pleased that he will portray the Secretary of State, who became such a dominant figure in Lincoln’s ‘team of rivals’ cabinet,” said Spielberg.
Strathairn won an Emmy for the HBO telepic “Temple Grandin” and received an Oscar nomination for his turn as Edward R. Murrow in “Good Night and Good Luck.” Thesp next stars alongside Rachel Weisz in “The Whistleblower.”
Strathairn is repped by ICM and manager Madeline Ryan of Ryan Entertainment.