Daniel Day-Lewis to play Abraham Lincoln

November 22nd, 2010

Daniel Day-Lewis is set to star as Abraham Lincoln in a new movie by Steven Spielberg.

The 'Nine' actor has been signed up to portray the 16th president of the US - who led the country through the American Civil War, ended slavery and was assassinated in 1865 - in a biopic by the 'E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial' director.

Liam Neeson had previously been linked to the role, but admitted earlier this year he was no longer involved in the project after being deemed too old.

After signing up Day-Lewis, 53, Spielberg praised him as one of the "greatest actors" of all time, adding to Hollywood.com: "I am grateful and inspired that our paths will finally cross with 'Lincoln'."

The announcement comes nine years after the director first launched development of the biopic and five years after asking 'A-Team' star Neeson - whom he had previously worked with on 'Schindler's List' - to play the president.

Based on best-selling 2005 book 'Team of Rivals' by Doris Kearns Goodwin, the story centres on the start of Lincoln's political career and the power struggles with his cabinet.

Filming is expected to begin next autumn, and the movie is to be released in late 2012 by Dreamworks.

Neeson - who at 58 is two years older than Lincoln was when he died - said earlier this year of the role: "I'm not playing Lincoln now. I was attached to it for a while, but I now I'm past my sell-by date."