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Leonardo DiCaprio 'convinced Daniel Day-Lewis to play Abraham Lincoln'

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Steven Spielberg has said that Leonardo DiCaprio helped convince Daniel Day-Lewis to sign up for Lincoln.

Spielberg revealed that he made an unsuccessful approach to secure the Oscar-winning There Will Be Blood star for the high-profile political biopic.

Director Steven Spielberg

© Ian West/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Leonardo DiCaprio

© PA Images / Matt Sayles/AP



"He said, 'I could never play Abraham Lincoln,'" the director recalled to USA Today. "That it was just too intimidating. 'What if I don't succeed? I don't want to bring down the image of a great man'."

Spielberg added that his Catch Me If You Can star DiCaprio was instrumental in recruiting his Gangs of New York co-star Day-Lewis to play Lincoln, a role that was initially earmarked for Liam Neeson.

Daniel Day-Lewis as Lincoln


"Leo DiCaprio was at my house for dinner one night," Spielberg said. "It was just myself, my wife and Leo. And he says, 'Hey, what's going on with your Lincoln project?' I told him the sad story.

"I had one shot at Daniel and he had declined. And that was that. Leo just listened. And then the next morning he called me at my office. He said, here's Daniel's cellphone number, he's expecting your call.

"Leo has never told me to this day what he said to Daniel. But that began this wonderful journey."

Lincoln is currently showing in US cinemas and will open in the UK on January 25, 2013.

Watch the Lincoln trailer below:

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