The life and demise of President Abraham Lincoln have always been a part of the American consciousness, but the recent highly acclaimed film "Lincoln" -- which is nominated for 12 Oscars (more than any other film) -- has brought the memory of one of history's most beloved presidents to the forefront of popular culture.
[Related: See the full list of Oscar nominees]
While the recent film focuses on the final four months of Lincoln's life, National Geographic is tackling the true story of Lincoln's final days in the network's first-ever docudrama, "Killing Lincoln." This two-hour TV event combines historical insight, re-creations, and narration by Tom Hanks. Hanks is not the only big name involved in this production; its executive producers are Ridley Scott (of "Alien" and "Gladiator" fame) and his younger brother, the late Tony Scott (director of "True Romance" and "Top Gun"). The special is based on the best-selling book by Fox News anchor Bill O'Reilly and author Martin Dugard, "Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination That Changed America Forever."
In this exclusive clip from "Killing Lincoln," we travel back to the night of April 14, 1865. This date is known by most as that of Lincoln's assassination, but there was much more going on. John Wilkes Booth, the assassin who killed Lincoln, was not working alone. Lewis Powell (a co-conspirator of Booth's) attempted to assassinate Secretary of State William Seward on the same night.
This clip opens with Booth at a bar having a few drinks before his attempt. The bartender comments on how Booth will never be as great as his father, who was renowned English stage actor Junius Brutus Booth; the comment clearly gets under Booth's skin. "When I leave the States for good, I'll be the most talked-about man in America," he says.
"And the stage is set," we hear Tom Hanks say before Booth is shown taking the steps up to Lincoln's box seat at Ford's Theatre.
Eight blocks away, we see Powell pushing his way into Seward's Washington, D.C., home, telling the lie that he was sent to deliver medicine with specific instructions directly to Seward. Powell is swiftly cut off by Seward's son, Frederick, who refuses to let him pass. Powell turns and begins to head down the steps before whipping around in an effort to shoot Frederick in the head. His gun is jammed. Although Powell fails to kill the secretary of state, the incident turns ugly.
To find out how the events of April 14, 1865, played out moment by moment, tune in to "Killing Lincoln" on Sunday, 2/17 at 8 PM on the National Geographic Channel.