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Redford to Direct Abe Lincoln Film

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Aug 18, 2009 | 8:40am EDT

Robert Redford will be first out of the gate with an Abraham Lincoln-themed film, the Risky Business blog reports.

Redford will direct the historical drama The Conspirator, the story of Mary Surratt, alleged conspirator of Abraham Lincoln’s assassin, John Wilkes Booth.

An indie film, Conspirator will be produced by Greg ShapiroRob and Web Stone and Brian Peter Falk with plans to shoot this fall. Bill Holderman is co-producing. 

James Solomon wrote the screenplay.

Producers are out to cast, with James McAvoy said to be at the top of their list for one of the lead roles.

Surratt was a Washington D.C. boardinghouse owner who sympathized with the Confederates and was allegedly part of the plot to kill Lincoln, supplying Wilkes Booth and his accomplice David Herold weapons at her tavern after the shooting at Ford's Theater. Surratt's son John was also alleged to be part of the conspiracy.

Other Lincoln-themed projects have bubbled up around Hollywood in the recent past without much forward momentum. Steven Spielberg has been attached to direct Lincoln, a biopic with Liam Neeson possibly in to play the sixteenth president, and HBO and Walden have been in development on a story about the search for Wilkes Booth after the assassination, based on James Swanson's Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer. The project at an earlier stage had Harrison Ford attached to star.

Redford's most recent trip behind the camera was the UA film Lions for Lambs. He is also attached to direct Against All Enemies, the adaptation of Richard Clarke's expose about the Bush administration's intelligence failures. That project, however, is now uncertain in the wake of the unraveling of Capitol Films, which was the most recent company to come aboard, says Biz.

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