A Distinctive Style Magazine

Issue 21

Culture, music, art, creativity, photography, environmental awareness, new fashion, celebrity interviews, motion video, organic eating, holistic health

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Page 58 of 79

Well that was easy for me because I knew nothing about him, so I had everything to learn and apart from a few images, a statue, a cartoon, a few lines from the first inaugural, a few from the Gettysburg Address, that would be my entire knowledge of that man’s life. I think probably the most delicious surprise for me was the humor. To begin to discover that was an important aspect of his character. Q: Would it be fair to say that it was tactical humor? At times it could be, but not necessarily I don’t think, no. I don’t think it was really, I think it was tactical in the political sense, and I think at times it was undoubtedly used in a conscious sense for some purpose to make some point. It’s not about what you are asking but there are accounts of people who came to ask him a question, which to them was of great importance, and found themselves in his presence, got a handshake, a story, and were out of the room before they even realized (laughs) and that’s good politics. (laughs) But no, I think it was innately part of him, I think there was a very joyful element to him actually, yes. Q: When you look back on your cinematic life, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen you in previous centuries in America. Yes, I am just sort of reflecting a little bit on my entire life, (laughs) and I am thinking that I spent a certain amount of time in the 17th century America, quite a bit of time in the 18th century America and so much time in 19th century America that I don’t know if I will ever get out to join the modern world (laughs). Some things have been going on during these years, but my experience has been that historical movies are well represented. (laughs) Q: You spoke about your reluctance to take on this role. What was the depth of that reluctance and talk about the wooing process, how were you won over to this challenge and when did you know it was the right time to say yes? Well I don’t know if I ever knew that it was the right choice, but I ran out of excuses at a certain point, (laughs) I understood that for Steven (Spielberg) to put the idea in front of me, not that I didn’t take it seriously from the word go, but it seemed inconceivable to me that I could be the person to help him to do the thing that he wished to do. And also, least of all, did I want to be responsible for irrevocably staining the reputation of the greatest President that this country has ever known, (laughs) not just in a self-serving way, but quite literally. It seemed to me a very difficult thing to try and tell that story, very difficult to try and do that in such a way that it could live. And I just really felt I wasn’t the person to do that. Q: So what changed your mind? It really was for me a combination of meeting with Steven, which was, even if nothing had come from it, still would have left me with a really wonderful memory at the time spent talking about Lincoln. Q: After leaving this movie, what do you think about government in this country and what is equal? Well it’s a work in progress isn’t it? It’s the word amendment itself that is an encouraging thing because it tells of a system of a government that allows for the improvement of itself. And yeah, just move forward a little bit one day at a time. Q: Was it strange to take on this role after Liam Neeson left the project?

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