November 19, 2012 In the November issue of Smithsonian magazine, Roy Blount Jr., a Vanderbilt graduate who has written about everything from the Marx Brothersâ€™ Duck Soup to the streets of New Orleans, details the challenge of bringing Abraham Lincolnâ€™s presidency to the big screen in Stephen Spielbergâ€™s new film, Lincoln.
In the piece, Blount builds a lively account of the political context of the filmâ€”the passage of the Thirteenth Amendmentâ€”by drawing rich detail from historical fact, the filmmakersâ€™ reflections on their own research, and insightful descriptions of scenes from the film. He interviews Spielberg, Doris Kearns Goodwin, writer of the popular biography Team of Rivals, from which the film took its inspiration, and Tony Kushner, the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright who wrote the filmâ€™s screenplay. Each of them describes the huge, engaging task of bringing to life a complicated man operating under complex historical circumstances. Of the screenplay, which at one point weighed in at 500 pages, Kushner says, â€śYou could make a very long miniseries out of any week Lincoln occupied the White House.â€ť
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