‘Lincoln’ preems at the Chinese

Pic stars Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, Tommy Lee Jones

“Lincoln” world preemed Thursday, closing the AFI Fest at the Chinese.

A pre-screening cocktail reception at the Roosevelt Hotel brought together the film’s large cast, including stars Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field and Tommy Lee Jones, for a photo op with Steven Spielberg.

“It’s been a long journey,” the helmer told Variety of the DreamWorks/20th Century Fox project that originally had Liam Neeson attached to play Abraham Lincoln. “I was always going to tell a Lincoln story, but it all came together with Tony Kushner’s screenplay.”

Timing of film’s release right after the presidential election was coincidental, Spielberg said. “Things just fell into place. The timing was right to make the movie.”

Still the timing couldn’t be ignored by AFI’s Bob Gazzale, who told the aud at the Chinese: “The numbers seem to show we’re a nation that is divided. But we are not divided at the movies. At the movies, we are one.”

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“Lincoln is a name that conjures up town cars, that tunnel in New York City — that’s not who we made our film about,” Spielberg told the crowd. “I’m privileged to have made a film about a leader that transformed our destiny. He’s a symbol of equality, freedom all over the world. He’s the purity and wisdom we yearn for when times are tough. With our film we wanted to try to actually see Lincoln, to meet him as the person he actually was.”

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