You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Daniel Day-Lewis in ‘Lincoln’

Eye on the Oscars: The Actor - Best Actor Contender

Daniel Day-Lewis routinely disappears into his roles, but as Abraham Lincoln in “Lincoln,” director Steven Spielberg says the actor reaches a new level of absorption.

“(Daniel) understood Lincoln on a subatomic level,” says Spielberg via the film’s production notes. “I never asked Daniel about his process, I never questioned it.”

The two-time Oscar winner had naturally heard of Lincoln, but Day-Lewis dove into researching the man, reading his own writings and ones written about the president. Tony Kushner’s script also proved a valuable aid.

“Tony suggested the man through his intellect, his humor and his melancholy, both domestically and in office,” Day-Lewis states in the notes. “In Tony’s script you see a man in that strange paradox of being both public and private.”

In addition to creating a craggy, slightly stooped president, Day-Lewis managed to master Lincoln’s voice, which shifted into a higher tenor register when he was worked up.

“Daniel embodies Lincoln’s physicality in a remarkable way,” says producer Kathleen Kennedy. “He also dug deep to get to a place that makes you feel like he had access to who Lincoln was as a man.”

Day-Lewis also proved generous with his co-stars, flying in from Ireland to L.A. for a day to work with future Mary Todd Lincoln (Sally Field). Afterward, Day-Lewis and Spielberg were both on the call to tell her she’d won the part.

“He is a towering example of uncompromising excellence,” Field says. “He makes you free to fail, free to do your own process. That work atmosphere can’t be taught.”

| HOME | Richard Gere >>

More Film

  • ‘Guilty Men’ Sweeps Colombia's 6th Macondo

    ‘Guilty Men’ Sweeps Colombia's 6th Macondo Awards

    Daniel Day-Lewis routinely disappears into his roles, but as Abraham Lincoln in “Lincoln,” director Steven Spielberg says the actor reaches a new level of absorption. “(Daniel) understood Lincoln on a subatomic level,” says Spielberg via the film’s production notes. “I never asked Daniel about his process, I never questioned it.” The two-time Oscar winner had […]

  • Madrid’s ECAM Pacts With Torino, Rotterdam

    ECAM Pacts with Torino, Rotterdam on First Incubator Projects

    Daniel Day-Lewis routinely disappears into his roles, but as Abraham Lincoln in “Lincoln,” director Steven Spielberg says the actor reaches a new level of absorption. “(Daniel) understood Lincoln on a subatomic level,” says Spielberg via the film’s production notes. “I never asked Daniel about his process, I never questioned it.” The two-time Oscar winner had […]

  • Andrew DuncanMomentum Pictures with The Cinema

    'Florida Project' Producer Steps Down Amid Harassment Claims

    Daniel Day-Lewis routinely disappears into his roles, but as Abraham Lincoln in “Lincoln,” director Steven Spielberg says the actor reaches a new level of absorption. “(Daniel) understood Lincoln on a subatomic level,” says Spielberg via the film’s production notes. “I never asked Daniel about his process, I never questioned it.” The two-time Oscar winner had […]

  • 'Antiporno' Review

    Film Review: 'Antiporno'

    Daniel Day-Lewis routinely disappears into his roles, but as Abraham Lincoln in “Lincoln,” director Steven Spielberg says the actor reaches a new level of absorption. “(Daniel) understood Lincoln on a subatomic level,” says Spielberg via the film’s production notes. “I never asked Daniel about his process, I never questioned it.” The two-time Oscar winner had […]

  • Nicholas Hoult Current War

    Film News Roundup: Shooting Wraps on Nicholas Hoult's 'Tolkien' Biopic

    Daniel Day-Lewis routinely disappears into his roles, but as Abraham Lincoln in “Lincoln,” director Steven Spielberg says the actor reaches a new level of absorption. “(Daniel) understood Lincoln on a subatomic level,” says Spielberg via the film’s production notes. “I never asked Daniel about his process, I never questioned it.” The two-time Oscar winner had […]

  • Disney-Fox Deal Casts Future of Fox

    Disney-Fox Deal Casts Future of Fox Studio Lot Into Doubt

    Daniel Day-Lewis routinely disappears into his roles, but as Abraham Lincoln in “Lincoln,” director Steven Spielberg says the actor reaches a new level of absorption. “(Daniel) understood Lincoln on a subatomic level,” says Spielberg via the film’s production notes. “I never asked Daniel about his process, I never questioned it.” The two-time Oscar winner had […]

  • Loveless Movie Wild Bunch

    Oscars: Nine Films Advance in Foreign-Language Race

    Daniel Day-Lewis routinely disappears into his roles, but as Abraham Lincoln in “Lincoln,” director Steven Spielberg says the actor reaches a new level of absorption. “(Daniel) understood Lincoln on a subatomic level,” says Spielberg via the film’s production notes. “I never asked Daniel about his process, I never questioned it.” The two-time Oscar winner had […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content