‘Lincoln’ First Look: Daniel Day-Lewis Becomes Honest Abe

First official photo of Day-Lewis in Steven Spielberg's Abraham Lincoln biopic shows the actor's uncanny resemblance to the 16th president.

Ladies and gentlemen, please rise for the 16th President of the United States — Daniel Day-Lewis!

After drawing with his left foot, butchering New Yorkers in the 1800s and selling oil and drinking milkshakes, the two-time Academy Award winner has set his sights on the presidency for his next role. Day-Lewis is the star of Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln,” and Entertainment Weekly has an all-new photo of the actor in character as Honest Abe — our first official look at Day-Lewis as Lincoln following paparazzi shots unveiled last December.

Accompanying the photo is an interview between Spielberg and EW in which the Oscar-winning director reveals that “Lincoln” takes place during the last four months of the president’s life, prior to his assassination by John Wilkes Booth.

“Our movie is really about a working leader who must make tough decisions and get things done in the face of overwhelming opposition,” said the filmmaker. “[The film begins with] Lincoln’s realization that the Emancipation Proclamation, the thing he is most known for, was simply a war powers act that would easily be struck down by any number of lawyers after the cessation of hostilities after the Civil War … He needed to abolish slavery by constitutional measure — and that’s where we start.”

Despite Day-Lewis’ reputation for fully immersing himself in his characters — a terrifying thought for anyone who encountered his Daniel Plainview on the “There Will Be Blood” set, one imagines — Spielberg insists that the actor “never went into a fugue state. He did not channel Lincoln. All that stuff is just more about gossip than it is about technique.”

Spielberg did, however, refer to Day-Lewis as “Mr. President,” but only in an effort to maintain authenticity on the set. “I was calling [all] the actors by their character names,” he revealed. “That was something I felt was important to establish a little authenticity, maybe even more for me than for them.”

“Lincoln,” starring Day-Lewis and an all-star cast including Tommy Lee Jones and Sally Field, hits theaters November 9.

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