Sally Field on Almost Not Getting Her ‘Lincoln’ Role: “I had a feeling they’d want someone who had less baggage”

Sally-Field-in-LincolnStarring in a Steven Spielberg film opposite Daniel Day-Lewis

might be as close as it gets to a “dream role” for an actress, and for two-time Oscar winner Sally Field Abraham Lincoln’s wife Mary Todd in Spielberg’s Lincoln was a role she wasn’t going to accept being passed over for.  While she was long considered for the role during the film’s ten year period of development, she reveals to Moviefone that she almost didn’t end up with the role after Day-Lewis was cast as Lincoln.

Spielberg has been trying to develop a film about Abraham Lincoln since he got the film rights to the book Team of Rivals in 2001, with Spielberg hoping to cast Liam Neeson in the lead role.  Before the script was even completed, Sally Field was the director’s choice for Mary Todd.  However, Field reveals that as time passed she worried that her age would keep her from the role, explaining, “They asked me to do it in 2005 but there was no writer. Many scripts came and went and Liam came and went. Tony Kushner became the writer and delivered an exquisite script and then when Daniel Day-Lewis came on board, I knew there would be a problem. I just knew it in my head. I’m 10 years older than Daniel and Lincoln was 10 years older than Mary. And then I have a lot of baggage on me as an actress, I’ve been doing it for 50 years. I had a feeling they’d want someone who had less baggage.”

However, Field was right to be concerned because after Day-Lewis was cast Spielberg nearly passed on her for the role.  But she persisted, and says, “I called Steven and said, ‘I won’t let you walk away. I won’t let you do it.’ He told me, ‘I saw you with Liam, but I don’t see you with Daniel.’ So I said, ‘Then test me.’ He graciously did test me, but by myself. He put me in old footage with Daniel and said, ‘I just don’t see it working.’ Daniel was in Ireland and he wasn’t ready to test with anyone because he wasn’t Lincoln yet, he was still cocoonizing himself. Steven told me, ‘I’m sorry, I’m sorry,’ but then he called me back and said he couldn’t get it out of his mind and he’d spoken to Daniel, who’d seen the footage and I was like, ‘Oh, sweet Jesus, can someone just disembowel me?’ And Daniel said he wanted to meet me. He knew Steven needed to see us together, so he flew into Los Angeles for the day and tested with me. He was very much in the early stages, but very much my darling Mr. Lincoln, and I was the early stages, but very much Mary. We did some weird hour-long improv with Steven and I said, ‘Thank you both more than I can ever say,’ and when I got home, the phone rang and Daniel and Steven were on the phone and they said, ‘Will you be Mary?'”

Leave a Reply

Latest Videos

http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/sag-foundation-conversation-with.jpg
SAG Foundation Conversation with the Cast of NBC’s ‘Marry Me’
Earlier this month NBC put in an order for five additional episodes of its freshman romantic comedy series, Marry Me. While that isn’t exactly the shot of confidence that a full-season renewal provides, it’s enough to keep fans of the comedy — which is about an engaged couple who are determined to get married despite […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/michael-caine.jpg
Michael Caine Talks About Acting With Your Eyes and Does an Amazing Cold Read of a Script
This week acting legend Michael Caine appears in his sixth film directed by Christopher Nolan, Interstellar. In an interview clip from The New York Times that was shot around the release of the last movie Caine worked on with Nolan, The Dark Knight Rises, reporter Melena Ryzik spoke to Caine about his six-decade career. In […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/director-dan-gilroy-narrates-a-s.jpg
Director Dan Gilroy Narrates a Scene from ‘Nightcrawler’ Featuring Jake Gyllenhaal and Rene Russo
Nightcrawler is easily one of the best movies of the year and its star, Jake Gyllenhaal, is outstanding. Definitely check this out when you have a chance. In the above clip, writer/director Dan Gilroy narrates a sequence from the film that features Gyllenhaal and Rene Russo. He talks about giving Gyllenhaal a small piece of […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/matthew-mcconaughey-talks-losing.png
Matthew McConaughey Talks Losing the Lead Role in ‘Bernie’ to Jack Black
Though Matthew McConaughey has increased his earned plenty of respect since he started taking on more substantive movie roles in the last few years (with Dallas Buyers Club even earning him an Oscar for Best Actor), one director that always has been a fan of McConaughey is Richard Linklater. Linklater gave McConaughey his first big […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/watch-benedict-cumberbatch-film.jpg
Watch: Benedict Cumberbatch Film the Smaug Motion Capture for ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’
Though Peter Jackson‘s movie adaptations of The Hobbit haven’t received the same critical acclaim as his films based on the book’s sequel, The Lord of the Rings (turning a 300 page book into 9+ hours of film tends to do that), fans are still eagerly anticipating the release of the final part of The Hobbit […]