Liam Neeson Talks Lincoln

ON sat down in New York on Tuesday with Liam Neeson to talk about his role in the new western Seraphim Falls. During the discussion he let spill some details of his preparation for Steven Spielberg’s planned biopic Lincoln, in which Neeson will play the famously tall and doomed 16th President. Did what you learned about the Civil War era for “Seraphim Falls” inform your preparation for “Lincoln”?
Neeson: Oh absolutely, yeah because when they asked me to do “Seraphim Falls” I was already a year into research for “Lincoln.” Very very heavily into the Civil War and that whole period. That’s still an ongoing process.

CS: What sort of things are you doing to portray this person who was certainly never captured on film and whose physical mannerisms and voice are basically hearsay?
Neeson: We know a lot about him, it’s not hearsay. There’s over two-thousand books written on this man. Two-thousand. Some of them are great books, I’ve read about twenty-two maybe.

CS: Have you visited his home?
Neeson: I’ve been there. I’ve been to Washington, I’ve held his wallet, I’ve said a prayer on the Bible he was inaugurated on. Still ongoing… there’s an extraordinary Lincoln bicentennial committee, a place I go to in Washington. I got to know this guy Michael Bishop who’s the co-chair. He gave me access to all this Lincoln stuff. I read his personal letters and stood on the stage at Ford’s Theater.

CS: Did they let you into the balcony?
Neeson: You can’t go in there, no. It’s sealed off. But I love the fact that he loved the theater. There’s not too many presidents you see going to see plays every so often. Lincoln did, all the time! He supported live theater, which is terrific.

CS: He should have stayed away from “Our American Cousin.”
Neeson: I know. (laughs)

Spielberg will first direct Indiana Jones 4 before turning his attention to this project.