Yesterday afternoon’s Christine Spines ran a quote from Steven Speilberg‘s spokesperson Marvin Levy that the long-gestating Lincoln movie, despite being recently put into turnaround by Paramount, is “alive and well and continues in active development.”

That would presumably mean in development at Disney, the new home of DreamWorks. And the “later this year” means that Disney has committed to fund and distribute the film…right? Levy wasn’t specific. “Everyone is proceeding with great enthusiasm,” he declared. “The script is still being revised by Tony Kushner and our plans are now to shoot the picture later this year.”

Well and good, but shooting later this year presumably means it’ll be released in ’10, so the “possibly finished and released by Christmas ’09” scenario stated by Kushner on 2.9 at Harvard is obviously out the window.

Secondly, Levy is a traditional spokesman dedicated (naturally) to putting a robust and positive spin on everything his boss is up to in a generically general p.r. way. He’s never going to divulge what’s really going on. Not in a particular way, I mean.

If you were to take him literally about Kushner “still” revising the script, for instance, you might wonder if further changes have been requested by Disney production execs because they want the reported $50 million budget trimmed even further? It’s not worth getting into because all Levy really cares about is conveying positivism.

All good scriptwriters are always revising their scripts and all good directors are always pushing for this to be done, but Kushner has been re-writing and honing the Lincoln script since forever. He said during his 2.9 Harvard discussion that the film will cover the last two months of Lincoln’s life, or roughly February 15th to April 15th, 1865 — the day of his death.

As I wrote earlier this month, “If any attention is to be paid to the Civil War during the last 60 days of Lincoln’s term, possible inclusions would be (a) the Union victory at the Battle of Five Forks on April 1st, which forced Gen. Robert E. Lee to evacuate Petersburg and Richmond, the Confederate capital, (b) a subsequent rebel loss at Sayler’s Creek, and (c) Lee’s surrender on April 9, 1865, in the village of Appomattox Court House.

When I spoke to Liam Neeson (who will most likely play Lincoln) in the summer of ’05, he said he understood that the film would span the full arc of Lincoln’s time in the White House, beginning in March 1861.”