There was a rumor going around that this President’s Day Steven Spielberg would finally announce a production start date for his long-awaited Abraham Lincoln biopic. No such luck. We’re still waiting to find out more about this intriguing project. All we know at this point is that Liam Neeson (who picked up an Oscar nomination the last time he worked with Spielberg, in Schindler’s List) is attached to star as the stovepipe-hat-wearing commander in chief; that Sally Field might end up playing Mary Todd Lincoln; and that Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tony Kushner (who nabbed an Oscar nomination for writing Spielberg’s Munich) has been hard at work on a script, which will reportedly focus on the last two months of Lincoln’s life. What we were really hoping to find out today was who’ll be playing John Wilkes Booth, the Confederate loyalist who murdered Lincoln in 1865 during a play at Washington, D.C.’s Ford’s Theatre, then jumped onto the stage to take a bow before escaping into the night.
What makes that character so interesting, at least to us, is the fact that Booth was an actor. And not just any actor, but one of the most famous and successful of his day. To put it in 21st-century terms, it’d be as if George Clooney or Johnny Depp had been implicated in the assassination of a president. Come to think of it, either of those two stars would be perfect for the part, if they’d be willing to grow a Booth-esque mustache. Or maybe Spielberg should go for a JWB-style three-name thespian. Johnny Lee Miller, perhaps? Or Daniel Day-Lewis? How about Sarah Jessica Parker?
What do you think, Pop Watchers? What contemporary actor do you want to watch kill the 16th president of the United States?