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An inside source close to Bantam Street leaked this first look at Leonardo DiCaprio’s Abraham Lincoln. Emulating one of Lincoln’s well known formal portraits the pic shows his later years, looking drawn and haggard in the midst of the bloody Civil War crisis. Not since the two competing Harlow films of 1965 has there been such a heated blockbuster biopic race. Though it’s pretty clear at this point that Spielberg’s opus will beat Ron Howard’s out of the gate by several months.
"The ears—the ears were important," says DiCaprio, unrecognizable under the heavy prosthetics that miraculously turn him into the 16th president following a grueling 6-hour daily process. Giving chameleon Daniel Day-Lewis a run for his money isn’t easy. "I don’t have the advantage of say an ugly actor like Jeremy Irons. So I’m really trying to do my homework. I read four books on Lincoln’s ears alone."
"The beard is particularly uncomfortable," chafed the star, who must endure hours and hours of the torturous "false whiskers" incorporated to suggest a 19th Century beard. But authenticity is key. "The film will be shot entirely in sepia tone," says Howard, "Just the way it would have looked had the movie been shot in 1865."
"It’s so weird, it’s like I’m standing at craft services next to Lincoln himself," said Sarah Jessica Parker, herself invisible under layers of makeup for Mary Todd Lincoln. "Just like I’m watching the real Lincoln grab handfuls of Goobers."
"I can’t help wondering, what if he hadn’t gone to that stupid show?" ponders DiCaprio. "What would he be accomplishing today?"
"He really was a great emancipator," adds Howard. "We have some good ones today too, but Lincoln really new how to emancipate."
—Larry Blamire, for Bantam Street
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