The following story about Steven Spielberg‘s initial connection with Lincoln star Daniel Day Lewis was apparently included an 11.30 Oprah Now interview. I may have heard it and brushed it aside, but I don’t think so.
“For a time I was going do [Lincoln] with Liam Neeson,” Spielberg explained. “But then, you know, we just decided to move in two different directions. I was sitting around at home one day realizing I’m never going to make Lincoln. It’s just never going to happen.
“And Leo DiCaprio came over for dinner that night. It was just my wife and Leo and myself. We were sitting around and Leo said, ‘What’s happening with Lincoln? You’ve been, what, five years on this thing?’ And I said, ‘Longer.’ I told Leo the whole story, and I told him I had tried to approach Daniel on another screenplay and I wasn’t able to re-approach Daniel.
“And the next day, my assistant said ‘Leo’s on the phone.’ He said, ‘You got a pencil? Write this down. This is Daniel Day-Lewis’s cell phone. He’s expecting your call.’ Leo had gone to bat for me and had called Daniel on the telephone and got Daniel and I together. Everything at that point started really moving quickly.”
Whoa, wait: Spielberg “wasn’t able to re-approach” Daniel Day Lewis because he “tried to approach Daniel on another screenplay”? In response to which DDL was (let’s imagine) so turned off by the initial project that he decided to refuse Spielberg’s subsequent calls? And the all-powerful Spielberg wanted to offer the Lincoln role to DDL but was unable to get his cell phone number? DDL thought he might fail in trying to portray Abraham Lincoln, etc. I’ve read that. But I don’t believe DDL would tell his assistant, “If Spielberg calls, I’m not in.” Bullshit.
Update: “The Spielberg/Day-Lewis story has been everywhere,” a friend days. “They both it in detail at a q & a at the Bruin, and Day-Lewis completely concurred. In fact, they really told much more about it including how when DDL finally accepted the Lincoln role Spielberg couldn’t even speak, so he put the phone down for a few until he could compose himself.” Wells response: I still don’t believe DDL wouldn’t take Spielberg’s calls and/or that Spielberg couldn’t get his cell phone #.