This USA Today interview with Spielberg contains an interesting little snippet about Liam Neeson that I hadn’t heard before.
The Schindler’s List star was lined up to play Lincoln in Spielberg’s biopic for many years before the part eventually went to Daniel Day-Lewis. The official line had always been that Neeson felt he was too old to play the part by the time Spielberg was ready to shoot, but Spielberg offers a slightly different spin.
“Spielberg went with Liam Neeson, his star from the Oscar-winning Schindler’s List. But the two had “subtle disagreements” about the portrayal, on which Spielberg does not elaborate.
“We just couldn’t come to terms on the story,” he says. “And the great news about Liam is that our friendship withstood some very, very light disagreements.”
“Liam is a friend of mine and Liam was committed to a period of time working with Steven. There came a moment for reasons known to both of them that Liam would do other things and Steven would do other things. But during that period of time whilst Liam was committed to the project, of course it wouldn’t have occurred to me to consider it.
“He has been in touch with me about it since and has given me incredible encouragement in the most generous possible way. When I was undecided about doing it he gave me encouragement towards that decision. I just feel I should say that. I can say unequivocally that Liam’s Lincoln would have been something I’d like to see.
“The timing worked out this way but it could’ve easily worked out the other way and I think Liam would’ve been quite wonderful.”
Daniel Day-Lewis on Liam Neeson, who was previously attached to Spielberg’s Lincoln.