This nugget of intelligence comes from Playbill, earlier in the month:
Spielberg's DreamWorks film about Abraham Lincoln (with Tony Kushner attached as screenwriter) was not yet ready to shoot, according to the trade paper, so Harvey [a newer project] has been fast-tracked.Recent stories featuring Kushner have not mentioned him finishing the script - in fact, they have not mentioned Lincoln at all. Is it too much to infer that Spielberg is having story/scenario problems with the material? First with Goodwin's book as delivered, then with Kushner's new material?
Larry Tagg noticed news that Robert Redford will beat Spielberg to market with a Lincoln film, albeit an assasination story ("The Conspirator"). This could actually help a future biopic by creating interest via the drama of death and chase.
What bothers me about the Redford stories - and we're entering codger territory here - is that only some of them mention that this is for HBO. To me HBO = TV and an HBO movie = Made-for-TV-Movie. Has the stigma disappeared? If it is not shown in theatres, is it a movie? When HBO started, I cancelled it the first time they broadcast a made-for-HBO-movie and have never looked back.
What Larry likes is the angle the scriptwriters are taking: "I'm especially excited about this because the movie centers on Mary Surratt, and I was just asked to speak at a conference organized by the Surratt Society--www.surratt.org--in March."
A Surratt society! Well, the astonishing level of interest in Dr. Samuel Mudd must be an indicator of something. Redford here may have a better nose for commercial potential, even if he is wasting a film on cable TV.