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Lincoln Featurette

For anyone interested in the making of the movie, here is a featurette – might I note how Daniel Day-Lewis just keeps getting better looking. That is just unfair in an unholy manner.

27 Comments on this Post

  1. thanks Sasha or posting this!

  2. “Man, not the monument” — you can try to humanize Lincoln all you want, but there are people who won’t stop worshiping Lincoln as the God they WANT him to be. It’s too bad that the film doesn’t do what they initially intended – to humanize him, that is.

  3. xxx, please stop hiding behind multiple IDs

  4. Elton Almeida

    Costume Designers Guild nominations:

    EXCELLENCE IN CONTEMPORARY FILM

    Beasts of the Southern Wild – Stephani Lewis
    The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel – Louise Stjernsward
    Silver Linings Playbook – Mark Bridges
    Skyfall – Jany Temime
    Zero Dark Thirty – George L. Little

    EXCELLENCE IN PERIOD FILM

    Anna Karenina – Jacqueline Durran
    Argo – Jacqueline West
    Les Misérables – Paco Delgado
    Lincoln – Joanna Johnston
    Moonrise Kingdom – Kasia Walicka-Maimone

    EXCELLENCE IN FANTASY FILM

    Cloud Atlas – Kym Barrett, Pierre-Yves Gayraud
    The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – Ann Maskrey, Richard Taylor, Bob Buck
    The Hunger Games – Judianna Makovsky
    Mirror Mirror – Eiko Ishioka
    Snow White and the Huntsman – Colleen Atwood

  5. “might I note how Daniel Day-Lewis just keeps getting better looking. That is just unfair in an unholy manner ”

    Hell, yeah. One of the most underrated-looking men in the world. Hugh Jackman’s an attractive man, but how anyone can think he has a better face than DDL, I will never understand.

    As for the featurette, the clips were my favorite part.
    As for the commenter who probably thinks that if Lincoln isn’t presented as a white supremacist tyrant than he is not humanized, well, Lincoln was an enigmatic man (so there is room for different interpretations of the man in the context of his times), but if you actually read contemporary accounts written during his lifetime by his peers, you’ll see that DDL nails Lincoln’s temperment and sly (almost outwardly passive)ways. Lincoln was not a man of malice (despite what he figured to be the necessity of war); and he is not a man of malice in the film either. He also evolved..And this film is Lincoln at his best. Its not as if the film shows Thaddeus Stevens at his worst…(Stevens, as a young lawyer, sent a runaway slave back into captivity…The guilt associated with that action is what turned him into an abolitionist. His relationship with Lydia Smith came later.

  6. Eoin Daly

    Daniel Day-Lewis as a human being is great but he acts he just is stunning and will never be beat for me. I hope we do not have to wait five years for another performance from me and he beast the record set by Hepburn winning five oscars.

  7. I found this featurette on the making of “Lincoln” much more interesting than the unfortunate film itself. The movie? Too long. Uninspired and unfocused direction. Congressman shouting and fuming all over the place (sound familiar?) I would have preferred a movie that really told me something about the man. The film was flat and left me cold, like a dull history lesson. I actually learned NOTHING new about the president that I didn’t already know. And that’s kind of astounding considering the title of the film (which, as I’ve said dozens of times before on this site) is misleading. It’s not so much about Lincoln as it is about the Congress of the times and the abolishment of slavery.

  8. jess4Linc

    @keifer….states….” I would have preferred a movie that really told me something about the man”.

    Not to be condescending, but, evidently you weren’t listening to the words being spoken or you just have a hard time comprehending the quiet messages in the dialogue of the characters.

  9. jess4Linc

    ‘….Not to be condescending, but, evidently you weren’t listening to the words being spoken or you just have a hard time comprehending the quiet messages in the dialogue of the characters….’

    It’s hard not to sound condescending or insulting when you try and respond to some of these comments about how Lincoln didn’t show what Lincoln was like.
    I mean, I guess they were expecting the Disney Hall Presidents.
    You are correct – I’ve seen the film four times – and each time I learn something new. It is nuanced and complex and if you are not invested – all you see are a bunch of old white guys arguing.
    Maddening isn’t it?

  10. @keifer

    You must be some expert on Lincoln if you didn’t learn anything new about him in the movie. Besides, its not the ‘what’ about Lincoln, its the ‘how’. In other words, we know what he did, but we weren’t exactly sure how he did it. I, for one, didn’t know that he nearly got himself impeached by ‘lying’ to congress. I didn’t know he used patronage to get votes. I didn’t know his son died (that is, before I read team of Rivals). I didn’t know he stalled on a peace conference so it wouldn’t interfere with the amendment. Also before reading Team of rivals, I was unaware of his high pitched voice, his depressions, his flat footed walk, the frequency of his story telling/humor, and how cunning he really was. What you learn in the book and film is that Lincoln’s power wasn’t in that he walked in the room and seemed like a powerful man or Presidential with a capital P. No, his power came from his soft-spoken yet persuasive qualities and his pragmatism..) Being underestimated was actually at times beneficial to him (it put people at ease and they trusted him, letting down their guard.) I learned that he was as much a politican as he was a statesman and that he did at times think some ends justified some means.

  11. Well this convinced me of the Director, Actor, Supporting Actress, Screenplay, Production Design and Editing Oscars. I do think what Spielberg says of no snappy cuts, is very true, he behaved himself this time, and I think its an absolutely brilliant film. LOVE IT!

    I’ve always thought Spielberg could do better than John Williams, and while I would have preferred Thomas Newman for this score I was glad that it was calm Williams, no over the top Saving Private Ryan, or god forbid another War Horse soundtrack which nearly made the film unbearable to watch. I might give Williams the Oscar, just for being NOT Williams.

    But I think Lincoln is really Spielberg’s best film. Hats off to what is certainly a master. Same to DDL and Sally Field and Kushner.

  12. @Yvette

    It is maddening. People obviously have to go somewhat by their initial emotional reaction. But they should admit that the film just didn’t reach them. “Boring” is a lazy way of saying that. I thought Wreck It Ralph was boring in its first half but I admit that it might just be that I am burned out on cartoons and don’t relate to video games.

    You said you saw something new every time you saw the movie. I just thought about the scene when he smacks his son. Some historians say that that’s inaccurate (that Lincoln never hit his kids.) But they miss the point of the scene–its painfully obvious from that scene that Lincoln doesn’t usually hit his kids–that’s its a new thing for him. DDL’s reaction after the smack says its all…and his quietly saying to himself out of Robert’s earshot…”I can’t lose you” is indicative of the difficulty Lincoln had in communicating his deepest feelings. The slap oddly indicated how much he loved Robert–or at least, that’s how I saw it. But since people don’t think the Robert Lincoln scenes fit into the movie, they ignore the nuances in those scenes that help us get to know Lincoln better. DDL actually said he thought Lincoln was shy. Mary Todd Lincoln (the real one) once said that what Abe felt the deepest he expressed the least’. Without the antecdotes, political speeches and stories, Lincoln is at a loss for words.

  13. I;m surprised people are actually referring to this performance as a huge transformation for Daniel Day Lewis…compared to his other works, this character, or atleast his portayal of him, is the most similar to his. The voice is high pitched yes, but it still sounds quite similar to Daniel’s own. The facial mannerisms and the hunch back, are all Daniel’s.

  14. @WS
    Damn, I hate backlash. Since when has Lincoln sounded like a british man? He is basically using a midwest accent with a slight southern drawl. Also, most actors use their own facial expressions–why can’t he? If it works for the role, who cares? DDL’s real life temperment is closer to Lincoln’s than Plainview’s..obviously. As for the physicality, the hunchback is partly him, but the shuffling walk most certainly is not his.

  15. It’s not backlash to the performance. Backlash to the praise. “He disappears!! He transforms!!” When in reality, he is clearly right there visible in plain sight. Joaquin Phoenix disappeared without any intricate facial hair or make up. Simply through acting differently.

  16. @VVS

    I don’t know how you can fault DDL’s performance as Lincoln, yes he changed his voice, and got made up to look like Lincoln, what other transformation are you looking for exactly?

  17. Did I fault him? no. Read again what I said…i was simply saying that people’s praises of his performance are overblown.

  18. Excuse me, I haven’t seen the Master yet, but how does he transform himself? In the clips I saw, Phoenix reminds me of a more intense, adult version of his character in To Die For–animalistic, sexually driven, unstable ? Does he change his voice? Does he use none of his own mannerisms? I like Phoenix and I am sure his Freddie characterization is great (I have heard its an emotional tour de force), but you are making a pretty big leap, are you not? in presuming that the off-beat, rebellious Phoenix shares nothing in common with his character or that none of his other characters have anything in common with this one? Explain it to me.
    As for DDL playing himself, although I don’t agree that’s what he is doing entirely–since DDL is not a folksy midwestern man, I don’t mind saying that Lincoln is the closest thing to himself in terms of charm and temperment. But I say that is a good thing. One criticism of DDL is that he never plays people like himself, that he can’t carry a film unless he completely erases himself from the picture–here he gets a little bit closer to using himself. Maybe, someday, he will compellingly and entertainingly play a middle-classed, middle-aged, mild-mannered English man.
    There is not that much makeup on him anyhow…they wrinkled up his face a bit and they did something to his ears but that’s about it. The rest is him.

  19. Marie,
    Don’t bother. The Joaquin Phoenix are just trying to discredit DDL because they thought this was JF’s year. But they didn’t count on DDL’s role-of-a-lifetime year.
    I’ve liked Joaquin since he was moody little kid in Parenthood…but I found him ticcy and mannered in The Master. It’s just this year’s facsimile of the Brando-Dean-Clift mold, but some of his fans seem to think he invented it.
    DDL is working on a different level….it’s not about physical transformation, but about conveying a sense of depth and soulfulness. I agree with your point about the ‘boring’ comments. If they don’t it or don’t care enough about the subject matter or context, just admit it. But don’t try to pretend to have some artistic or intellectual aversion. Because their ‘arguments’ are so far from removed from the actual film. Yes, ‘boring’ is a cop out when you just don’t get it.

  20. Ddls performance is amazing, this films language is breath taking, long live Lincoln!

  21. @ Marie, Yvette

    yes, Phoenix transforms. He works through a mask (theatrical definition of it). He wears a mask that expresses the character’s inner life. All of his thoughts, feelins, etc register through the mask and shift it, so its always the character reacting. His body is so contorted. To be in such a high degree of physical characterization, without the aid of costume or make up, and still retain that animalistic spontaneity/unpredictability is simply brilliant.

    Now, when you say that Lincoln is nothing like DDL, you go on about his social class and his birth place? What does that have to do with acting. Actors don’t consider those things with nearly as much importance as what the Psychology of a character is…what is the psychological archetype that drives them? In the film, Lincoln is depicted as a Story Teller…..if you have ever seen any of Daniel Day LEwis’s interviews he is a story teller by nature. The way he talks, the way he captivates, it all boils down to the psychology of a story teller. Now, when DDL plays Lincoln, he brings a lot of of his own personality to that same archetype. What does Middle class or Presidency have to do with it? Those things are established by the story and have nothing do with the Actor.

    When looking at an actor’s performance you must separate the elements of the story that are brought forth by the actor, from those brought forth by the other departments of film making. An actor considers the rhythms of the character, the quality with which they speak, the quality with which they move, their gestures….everything else is irrelevant to an actor. It is simply not his job, and worrying about it is a waste of time he could spend on preparing the role.

  22. @WS
    “He wears a mask that expresses the character’s inner life. All of his thoughts, feelins, etc register through the mask and shift it, so its always the character reacting. His body is so contorted. To be in such a high degree of physical characterization, without the aid of costume or make up, and still retain that animalistic spontaneity/unpredictability is simply brilliant. ”

    This you could say about most actors. The difference is that Phoenix does it in a more noticable way. He’s a more extreme character with more extreme emotions, therefore more extreme physical manifestations of those emotions. DDL is playing Lincoln. And for all Lincoln’s eccentricities, he was still a man who had to have a little self-control and self-containment..He was the president for God’s sake, not an unstable, alcoholic lunatic. Actors’ faces are their instruments. DDL’s makeup did not do the work for him. You see tension in his face (from burdens that DDL could have never experienced in real life), warmth, the twinkle in his eyes… (despite the makeup which could have easily blocked expression.) How much of that is Daniel and how much of that is Lincoln is nearly impossible to know. Just as how much of Freddie is Phoenix is impossible to know. More noticable acting isn’t necessarily better acting. Its apples and oranges at his point. Maybe, Phoenix’s perforamnce is more emotionally transformative (with the emotions manifesting themselves in physical ways), but its not technically more transformative than DDL’s (not to say DDL’s performance is totally technical; its actual technical (on the surface–accent, walk etc) and subtely personal.)

  23. Noticeable acting? That’s the whole brilliance of Phoenix’s performance…you DON’T see any acting. It just seems like an entirely different living breathing person. You can never guess what he’ll do next, it’s the true meaning of living in imaginary circumstances. Hence, why so many people were screaming how Phoenix has lost his noodle because they were so convinced of the character in The Master being a real person.

    IMO, the traits you describe of DDL’s Lincoln to have, are already traits that he possesses in real life. When I see Lincoln’s face, I see DDL’s face, when I hear Lincoln be delighted by something funny, it reminds me of Daniel Day Lewis, etc. It’s still a better performance than the others (Why is Cooper in again? Remind me when Ben Stiller was ever nominated for doing the same level of work in a Rom Com?) but it doesnt hold a candle to what Phoenix does in THe Master.

  24. I think you are confusing naturalistic with noticeable. I am sure he is totally belieavable and naturalistic, but if you are talking about his “mask’ expressing his feelings than you are noticing his acting or at least the physical quirks he brings to the performance. I am not in any way diminishing Phoenix’s performance (because I do like that kind of acting…it seems similar to James Dean in East of Eden)

    I am just saying that since DDL rarely brings his own personality quirks into his acting, his Lincoln performance is a lovely change of pace and it works because he shares certain qualities with the man he is playing. For someone like Day-lewis, it reveals a faith in his own native charisma. Good actors know when, in a particular performance, to use themselves (because they share characteristics when their characters) and when to create/impersonate…Its a hybrid.

  25. Sorry WS.. [ I fixed that Marie. Maybe nobody noticed. Your secret is safe with me. - Ryan ]

    I want to say one more thing..Phoenix is kind of right about comparing performances…it is kind of silly. In 2008, when Day-lewis won everything under the sun for There Will be Blood, I loved that performance but when I watched the rest of the acclaimed performances that year, I realized that there were many many great performances equally as good (maybe not as groundbreaking but equally as good in their own way.) In other words, I thought Tommy Lee jones in the Valley of Allah and Emile Hirsh in Into the wild were just as good. Now, I am pretty sure Tommy Lee Jones and Hirsh use some of their own personality quirks (hell, if you look close enough at TWBB even DDL does at times), but the performances still entertained and moved me immeasurably.

  26. Shannon/Marie,

    Dean was a great actor, but at the time of East of Eden he still hadnt come into his own and trusted himself. As a result when he did all his emotional scenes, he pushed and the result was not great.

    In the Master, Joaquin never feels like he is self conscious or doing anything…you just simply the character, living, being overcome by emotion, at times trying to fight the emotions as they take hold of him. It’s quite incredible and heart breaking to watch.

    I speak of Mask, simply because I watched the film 3 times, and I’m a student of acting. I don’t see an actor putting on a mask when i watch the film, that is me trying to solve the puzzle of how he achieved something like that. So don’t think that when I point out these aspects of the performance, its because they were noticeable acting “gimmicks” its only because I consciously set out to analyze the work he did in the film that I see them.

    I have to remind you again. I have nothing against Actors bringing themselves to their roles. And I thought Day Lewis was incredible. Very fleshed out, in tune with his own rhythm, giving way to moments and nuance. I’m merely pointing out that people have overblown their praise.

  27. Fair enough!!:)

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