Asked why he doesn't depict John Wilkes Booth in the history movie, Spielberg reasons, 'Had we taken it right up to the assassination, the film would've, for the first time, become exploitation.'
Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln" has already shown success after it was screened in just 11 selected cinemas in the United States. For those who have watched the Abraham Lincoln biopic, they would find that the movie didn't depict John Wilkes Booth, the man who assassinated the iconic President on Good Friday, April 14, 1865. Apparently, Spielberg had his own reason for excluding the three-part assassination attempt on Abe in his movie.
Speaking to Collider, the A-list filmmaker explained, "The decision was a pretty easy one to make. Had we taken it right up to the assassination, the film would've, for the first time, become exploitation. And I didn't want to go anywhere near that."
"That's a very scary word, especially when you're dealing with the history," he insisted. "And nothing could be gained by showing that. It was more profound for me to see what actually happened. It had nothing to do with cinema. It just had to do with not wanting to exploit the assassination, which has been depicted in other films, ad nauseam."
Aside from talking about the exclusion of Abe's assassination in the film, Spielberg dished on why the highly-praised movie became his passion project. "I've just always had a personal fascination with the myth of Abraham Lincoln," he said. "Once you start to read about him and the Civil War, and everything leading up to the Civil War, you start to understand that the myth is created when we think we understand a character and we reduce him to a cultural national stereotype."
"Lincoln has been reduced to statuary, over the last 60 years or more. There's been more written about Lincoln than movies made about him, or television portraying him. He's kind of a stranger to our industry and to this medium. You have to go back to the 1930s to find a movie that's just about Abraham Lincoln."
He went on, "My fascination with Lincoln started as a child and got to the point where, after reading so much about him, I thought there was a chance to tell a segment of his life to moviegoers. That's how the whole fascination began."
"Lincoln" grossed around $900,000 from only 11 cities with a pleasing location average of $81,818 on its debut weekend. The film will expand to nationwide release for moviegoers' viewing pleasure on November 16.