Steven Spielberg has selected Virginia to film a biography of Abraham Lincoln starring Daniel Day-Lewis, state and local officials have announced.
Principal filming is scheduled to begin this autumn at various historical locations in Petersburg and Richmond, the former capital of the Confederacy. The film is scheduled for release in 2012. Sally Field will play Mary Todd Lincoln.
The Virginia Film Office said Spielberg, who has filmed twice before in Virginia, selected those two cities because of the abundance of historic properties that date to the period. The state also offered financial incentives totalling nearly five million dollars.
"Virginia is just teeming with historic heritage," said Mary Nelson, a spokeswoman for the film office. "We just have wonderful architecture."
The film is based on the Doris Kearns Goodwin book Team Of Rivals, a 2005 best-seller that examines Lincoln's presidency and the Civil War. Tony Kushner will write the screenplay.
"Virginia's rich historic legacy, coupled with the remarkable period architecture found in Richmond and Petersburg, make central Virginia the ideal location for this production," Spielberg said in a statement released through the governor's office.
Spielberg had been scouting locations in Richmond and Petersburg over the past year or more. He has made at least one trip to the Museum of the Confederacy in downtown Richmond, also home to the former Confederate White House, and has been seen in an area restaurant. Lincoln visited the former White House after Richmond's fall.