The recent breakup and reorganization of Dreamworks Studio seems to have put paid to a 2009 Bicentennial release of the much anticipated Lincoln film for which Spielberg had bought the rights from Doris Kearns Goodwin. Remember, he bought those rights as soon as he heard she was working on a Lincoln bio. (More on this later.)
Variety reported on the 9th that filming is "slated for a spring start." It refers to this movie as "Lincoln." A day earlier, the Hollywood Reporter wrote that "DW aims to produce about six films per year starting in 2010" and "It's believed that DW will produce an untitled Lincoln biopic..."
I believe Variety was reporting the pre-breakup spring start date for filming Lincoln (I had seen it before) and that the Hollywood Reporter has the better information. As of October 8/9, the projects may not have been entirely divided between surviving entities, much less funded and scheduled.
That was the situation then and it was ambiguous. A week later, on the 16th, Hollywood Reporter told of the naming of two new co-presidents to run Dreamworks. We all know what happens when new studio chiefs arrive: projects get killed, new projects get started. It's another layer of fog on the Spielberg-Goodwin film.
Now it gets even fuzzier. In the same story, on the day of the naming of the two presidents, the Reporter tells us
"Lincoln," which had been widely reported as moving over to DW, will remain at Par[amount] as one of the group of projects that DW retains an option to co-finance and co-distribute.Emphasis added. So, the day before the new bosses arrived, ownership had been settled but not financing and distribution. That puts things in 2010 territory, to say the least, without factoring in project reviews by the new chiefs. Goodbye, Bicentennial tie-in.
Are we also looking at goodbye Goodwin? Notice references to "Lincoln" - I understand that this could be project title shorthand but it severs the obvious marketing tie-in to Team of Rivals which would make just as good a working title. And how about that reference to "an untitled Lincoln biopic"?
Spielberg bought this book before it was even written. Goodwin seemed to be rewriting it endlessly, even recasting the material. Was she making it more movie-script friendly? Was Spielberg a collaborator?
Would that even be ethical in the history discipline? (Sound of derisive snorting off stage.)
If Goodwin conformed her history book to Hollywood ends and Hollywood is now casting about for a different sort of "story" than "Team," that in itself is the stuff of screenplays.
Goodwin's name was last spotted in a May story where Director Spielberg noted his script would merely be "informed" by Team of Rivals.
Expect it to include Lincoln and some sort of team.
(Goodwin pic via Pritzker.)