Monday, February 16, 2009

Spielberg's Lincoln, the delay, and Who Should Play Andrew Johnson?

In 2006, I got very excited about the idea of Steven Spielberg directing a Lincoln biopic, and immediately began anticipating this film upon knowing Liam Neeson would be playing the part of Lincoln.

I immediately began speculating who would play the part of part of John Wilkes Booth, although, I was uncertain, and still am, uncertain, as to exactly what part of Lincoln's life is featured in this biopic, although I would find it hard to believe Lincoln assassination wouldn't be covered, especially with Spielberg as director.

The response I received to my question was great. Leading guesses included Matthew McConaughey, Kevin Kline, Johnny Depp, Adrian Brody, Jude Law.

Yet, all these speculation was in 2006 and here it is President's day 2009 and we have no resolve to this question of who should play Booth, and what exactly is going on with this project. Neeson is going to be geriatric before this project gets under way at this rate, and Michael Cera, Joshua Jackson or Zac Efron will be old enough to play the part by the time production gets under way.

I've wondered if with the high interest in this 2008 political campaigns, and the way that Democratic Obama tried to tie himself to Republican Lincoln, along with Lincoln's Bicentennial just less than a week ago, if Spielberg either missed the boat of getting in on something really big, or if perhaps people would have been "Lincolned-Out" and it's just as well the project is delayed.

So in honor of President's Day, I thought I would ask "who should play the part of President Lincoln successor, President Andrew Johnson?"

Andrew Johnson is a unique president because his party line status is so bizarre. Vice President of a Republican president, he's from the South and detached himself from either party, a member of the National Union party and the Democratic party for various parts of his political career.

As Lincoln's vice president for just over a year, and then a President for less than 11 months, he's certainly one of the least respected presidents in American history, being the first president to ever be impeached.

Depending on how the story is told, he could easily have a significant supporting role in Spielberg's film.

And in fact, as I think about Andrew Johnson's short presidency, I think his story would make for a fascinating story on it's own.

Who would you cast to play the part of America's 17th president, President Andrew Johnson?


elgringo said...

Andrew Johnson - Tommy Lee Jones
I think Casey Affleck should play Booth. After watching The Assassination of Jessie James by the Coward Robert Ford, it just made perfect sense to me.

Also, I re-upped that Letterman/Phoenix video. Enjoy.

crackers and cheese said...

I second Tommy Lee Jones. They look remarkably similar!

Hmm, I don't know about Casey Affleck. I'm sure he'd be terrific, but I'd hate to keep typecast as the creepy nineteenth century assassin.

Now who should be cast as Mary Todd? Whoever they cast is likely to be an attractive actress who hardly resembles her. She was in her forties during his presidency, and the only actresses I can think of are either too young or too old. Who would be a good middle-aged actress to portray her?

Dad said...

Kirk Cameron? I mean after being in Fireproof, I think he is totally ready.

Grete said...

I could see Tommy Lee Jones as Andrew Johnson... Also, what about Russell Crowe? He has a similar face shape and is getting old now. :)

Will said...

Looks like Tommy Lee Jones to me!

Anonymous said...

Brendan Gleeson.

Anonymous said...

My history tells me that Lincoln & Andrew Johnson were elected in November of 1864 & inaugurated March of 1865.Therefore Johnson was Vice-President for less than 6 weeks as the assassination occured on Good Friday 4/14/1865.U.S.Grant was inaugurated in March of 1869 making Johnson's term as President just 6 weeks form being a full 4 year term although I'm sure Johnson would have wished it to be less.I think Tommy Lee Jones would be a great choice.I think Johnny Depp would be a stronger Booth as Booth had matinee-idol good looks & was an actor with shakespeare-like range.

Anonymous said...

I think Tommy Lee Jones has the acting caliber and,clearly, the facial similiarity to play this less-than-unifying President. After some research I have discovered that the two known actors who look most like Grant are Russell Crowe and, strangely enough, Robin Williams (check out a photo)- I'd love to see Williams but I think Crowe has more experience with this kind of role. I think a younger actor would be best for Booth as the man himself was 26, but someone who can pull off intelligent and dark - my choice is Jeremy Davies (looks like him and can act: Saving Private Ryan).