There are now two Abraham Lincoln movies in the pipeline — that serious weighty thing that Steven Spielberg will direct with Liam Neeson in the title role (i.e., the one I’ve been writing about since ’05), and a weird-thoughtful comedy from director Mike Binder about Lincoln being somehow brought back to life by an electric charge of some kind or another, and grappling with life in 2007. I’m not kidding, and I think its an excellent concept. But what would you call it? Remancipator?
My first thought was “cool…Abe’s back” but then I thought about this. A great legend of the 19th Century comes face to face with the mind-blowing and the tragic aspects of what this country has become is….not funny. A man from a world of sabers, horse and buggies, hoop skirts and top hats encountering obese people and SUVs everywhere, McMansions, global warming, George Bush, celebrity meltdowns, junk food, etc.? That’s a kind of horror film.
But the more I thought about it, the funnier it became. A fish-out-of-water piece with all kinds of strange cultural undercurrents. Lincoln driving a car, visiting Banana Republic, taking a Pilates class, dealing with an iPhone, etc. He can’t meet a nice bank teller and fall in love like Malcolm McDowell‘s H.G. Wells did in Time After Time. What would be do with himself? Become a pot dealer? A horse breeder?
In any event, Binder and Spielberg are sort-of bonded now. Binder says that Spielberg told him he’ll start work on the Lincoln film as soon as he finishes work on Indiana Jones 4, which would be next summer or next fall.