It seems tradition in Hollywood for movies about a certain subject to come in twos. I guess it drives competition in the film industry as one strives to better the other artistically, but it still seems like a lot to handle.
Shortly after it was announced that Steven Spielberg is in the process of developing an Abraham Lincoln biopic, Robert Redford announced plans to direct and produce The Conspirator, a film that follows Mary Surratt’s involvement in Lincoln’s assassination. Much buzz has been tossed about over both films, but Redford’s just got a huge publicity boost after Variety today announced the amazing cast that is lined up.
Robin Wright Penn was previously announced to be playing the film’s protagonist, Mary Surratt with James McAvoy tapped to play Frederick Aiken, the attorney who defended her in court. Just announced members to the cast include:
Kevin Kline as Edwin Stanton, Lincoln’s war secretary who took charge of the crime scene after Lincoln’s assassination and was very involved in the trial. Kline is one of my favorite actors for his brilliant stage work as much as his film work and his inclusion in this project ups my anticipation tenfold.
Tom Wilkinson as Reverdy Johnson, a Surratt sympathizer and mentor to the former attorney general. Wilkinson is one of those actors whose presence in a film is not always acknowledged, but he almost always makes a movie better simply by being present.
Evan Rachel Wood as Anna Surratt, daughter of the accused. Wood being cast to play the daughter of Robin Wright Penn may be one of the best casting decisions ever simply from the resemblance standpoint.
Alexis Bledel as Sarah Weston, Aiken’s wife. Rory Gilmore hasn’t had a very distinguished film career yet, but this is a great opportunity for a breakout.
Justin Long as unnamed character. I’m not sure if not revealing his role was intentional or because its a fictionalized or insignificant role. Somebody may be playing John Wilkes Booth, and Justin could be the one for that role. It would be a huge break for him.
Robert Redford picked a fantastic cast, however, it is worth noting that Infamous, the forgotten Truman Capote movie also had a fantastic cast. Whether or not the release dates for the two movies will conflict is uncertain, but if one is a huge success the other may fall by the wayside. Despite Spielberg’s direction, I’d have to say that the advantage right now goes to The Conspirator.
The Conspirator is aiming for a 2010 release.