WBEZ | Daniel Day-Lewis http://www.wbez.org/tags/daniel-day-lewis Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Spielberg’s 'Lincoln' leaves some scratching their beards http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/spielberg%E2%80%99s-lincoln-leaves-some-scratching-their-beards-103851 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/3Krebs.png" alt="" /><p><p>Steven Spielberg&rsquo;s new biopic <em>Lincoln</em>, which opens nationally today, is raising a few eyebrows.</p><p>The film explores the final months of the enigmatic 16th president&rsquo;s life. Actor Daniel Day-Lewis gives voice to the bearded &ldquo;Great Emancipator.&rdquo;</p><p>It might not be the voice you&rsquo;re expecting to hear:</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/KJVuqYkI2jQ" width="560"></iframe></p><p>The British actor&rsquo;s characterization of Lincoln&rsquo;s voice has critics using words like &ldquo;scratchy,&rdquo; &quot;high-pitched,&rdquo; and &ldquo;reedy.&rdquo;</p><p>Years of James Earl Jones smoothly assuring us that &ldquo;This is CNN&rdquo; and Walter Cronkite calmly telling us &ldquo;That&rsquo;s the way it is&rdquo; have cemented our idea that great orators have deep, rich voices.</p><p>Yet <em>Lincoln</em> the movie, and history itself, challenge that view. Some historians say that Day-Lewis&#39; portrayal is accurate: Lincoln, one of our greatest orators, did indeed have a voice that was higher and more thin than what we&#39;d expect by modern standards. Back in the day, his voice was described as projecting over the crowds like a trumpet.</p><p>So what does this new portrayal mean for men who have made their lives&#39; work impersonating Lincoln?</p><p>Since the film opened in selected Chicago theaters this week, we thought we&rsquo;d check with some experts. In Illinois, the &ldquo;Land of Lincoln,&rdquo; there are at least 16 Lincoln impersonators, just counting those who belong to the Association of Lincoln Presenters.</p><p>Max Daniels, Patrick McCreary and Michael Krebs collectively have more than 60 years of experience bringing the man on the penny to life. They each have their own interpretation of how Honest Abe would have sounded.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="300" mozallowfullscreen="" src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/53637869" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="400"></iframe></p><p>Along with different portrayals of Lincoln, they also have their own feelings about Day-Lewis&rsquo; portrayal of our former president.&nbsp;</p><p>Krebs enjoyed Day-Lewis&rsquo; performance.</p><p>&ldquo;They played him very quiet, because we&rsquo;re dealing with the last four months of Lincoln&rsquo;s life, and they were very careful to show that the man is literally washed out. We&rsquo;re starting to see the shell of the man,&rdquo; Krebs said.</p><p>But Daniels had mixed feelings. He thinks the scenes where Lincoln speaks in a quiet, conversational manner are accurate, but the scene where the president is heard addressing his Cabinet, which can be seen in the above trailer, is over the top.</p><p>&ldquo;He (Day-Lewis) was almost shrill. I have never found in all my reading where Lincoln got angry to that degree,&rdquo; Daniels said. &quot;He was more of a calm, thoughtful, talk-it-out kind of person as opposed to someone who is almost forcing themselves to get things done.&quot;</p><p>All three men did agree on one thing. Day-Lewis&rsquo; characterization would have little if any effect on their own. McCreary said though there may be certain details he would have portrayed differently, he still feels Day-Lewis did a phenomenal job capturing Lincoln&rsquo;s character.</p><p>&ldquo;When it comes right down to it, an inspired performance is an impression, it&rsquo;s not an impersonation,&rdquo; McCreary said.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>To hear Michael Krebs&#39; complete version of the Gettysberg Address, listen to the audio below:</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="http://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F67454517&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p></p> Fri, 16 Nov 2012 08:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/spielberg%E2%80%99s-lincoln-leaves-some-scratching-their-beards-103851 Lincoln: The man and the film http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-11/lincoln-man-and-film-103799 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/rsz_lincoln_poses_with_son_tad_ap_photofile.jpg" style="width: 368px; height: 500px; float: left;" title="Abraham Lincoln Poses with son Tad (AP PhotoFile)" /></p><p>There have been over 16,000 books written about every aspect of Abraham Lincoln&rsquo;s private and professional life. In 2009 alone, the bicentennial of Lincoln&rsquo;s birth, 249 Lincoln biographies were published. The total number of Lincoln biographies, 5,796, is nearly double the number of biographies written about George Washington, 2,972. And, according to Lincoln aficionado Andrew Ferguson, there have been more banks, bridges, schools, streets, roads and highways named after Lincoln than any other single president. As one political commentator put it, we love Lincoln because &ldquo;he saved the dream, and he lived the American dream.&rdquo;</p><p>Personally, Lincoln has long been one of my cultural heroes. He was a man of the people and a man of the soil, who rose from pioneer poverty to the presidency. And, he did this all with the power of his mind. Lincoln was a man who fell in love with the importance of words and the impact of ideas. For him, the life of the mind was the key to human progress and prosperity. His rise to power was based not on a large campaign war chest or the unwavering endorsement of his political party. Lincoln&rsquo;s success was propelled by the strength of his ideas, which he presented as a lawyer in his debates with Stephen Douglas, in his Cooper Union Speech, in the 272 words he uttered at Gettysburg and in his two Inaugural Addresses.</p><p>My absolute favorite book on Lincoln is the one that the newe Steven Spielberg film is partially based on &mdash; Doris Kearns Goodwin&rsquo;s <em>Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln.</em> I have read Goodwin&rsquo;s words, and Lincoln&rsquo;s, and the words and wisdom of some of the best Lincoln scholars. But until I saw this film, I has no visceral connection to Lincoln the man. Oh, I had been moved by many of the Lincoln photos, how could you not be? In four years he went from being a man in full, to this tired eyed, exhausted and worn out old man. But the movie made Lincoln kinetic and alive. His face, his movements, his voice, his smallest gestures seemed to be spot on. On screen, Daniel Day-Lewis becomes Lincoln.</p><p>This is a story of ideas and idealism, and of Lincoln&rsquo;s commitment to save the union and to end slavery. This &ldquo;gentle-man,&rdquo; who possessed a sly wit and an indomitable will, never confused his mission with himself and never let pride overcome principle. This is also the story of a political pragmatist who knew how to &ldquo;horse trade&rdquo; and play &ldquo;hard ball&rdquo; in order to achieve his desired ends.</p><p>After seeing this movie I now think that Leo Tolstoy was not guilty of excessive exaggeration and hero worship when he said, &ldquo;The greatness of Napoleon, Caesar or Washington in only moonlight by the sun of Lincoln&hellip; He was bigger than his country &mdash; bigger than all the Presidents together. And as a great character he will live as long as the world lives.&rdquo;</p><p>Thank you Daniel Day-Lewis and Steven Spielberg for breathing life into a man who, as <em>Time Magazine</em> beautifully phrased it, &ldquo;everyone and no one knows at once.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p><p><em>Al Gini is a Professor of Business Ethics and Chairman of the Management Department in the Quinlan School of Business at Loyola University Chicago.</em></p></p> Tue, 13 Nov 2012 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-11/lincoln-man-and-film-103799