I had my reasons for not getting into last Friday’s conversation about Liam Neeson saying he’s no longer attached to play Abraham Lincoln because he’s gotten too old.
For one thing that’s bullshit. Lincoln was 56 when he was shot and Neeson is a trim and healthy-looking 58. On top of which Lincoln wasn’t exactly a vision of youth and vigor with his haggard features and scraggly beard so give me a break. Neeson could be 60 or 62 and still get away with playing him, easy.
The other thing, I suspect, is that Neeson said what he said because like me and many others, he’s had it up to here with Steven Spielberg‘s endless dilly-dallying on the Lincoln-Neeson bipic, which has gone on for three or four years now.
Spielberg is seemingly (a) afraid of anything too Amistad-y (i.e., political principle in a historical context), and (b) probably doesn’t want to suffer through the same kind of reputation-diminishing pans that greeted Amistad‘s release. Deep down he’s afraid of the expectations that would be attached to any Honest Abe film. I think we all sense that now.
So if you ask me Neeson saying he’s too old to play Lincoln was code, I suspect, for (a) “I can’t deal with this bearded little pussy any longer,” (b) “I have my pride” and (c) “he’s kept me in limbo long enough.”