Sally Field to Steven Spielberg: ‘I won’t let you walk away from me’
Sally Field (Photo: Vera Anderson/WireImage.com)
Field recently sat down with Yahoo! Movies, where she revealed she had to fight director Steven Spielberg for the part of Mary.
An epic battle it was, as Field had been attached to the project for nearly seven years as part of a production that indeed took a long while to get off the ground. "I knew Mary was a part for me. I just felt it in my gut for many, many years because of her size and who she was... and also because she's such a fascinating character," she said of the first lady, who is thought to have been 5'2" -- the same height as Field. "I wanted to play her. [Spielberg] asked me to do this when there was no script, there was nothing except another actor was attached to do 'Lincoln.'"
That actor was Liam Neeson. And he eventually dropped out, making room for Day-Lewis -- who has admitted he was initially reluctant to take on the leading role. That's when Field realized she was in jeopardy. "Daniel came on board and I went, 'Uh-oh! Here the battle begins.'"
Field, who is now 65-years-old, is 10 years older than Day-Lewis -- quite a difference by Hollywood standards. Adding to Field's challenge, Mary was nearly 10 years younger than Abe. But Field wouldn't let that deter her. "I called Steven and said, 'I won't let you walk away from me. I won't let you do it.' He said, 'But Sally, I don't see you with Daniel. I saw you with Liam, I don't see you with Daniel.'" (Neeson is five years younger than Field.)
Mary Todd Lincoln, left, and Sally Field in 'Lincoln' (Photo: Everett Collection, DreamWorks Pictures)
Field then demanded that Spielberg screen test her. He honored her request, but tested her alone, editing her onto film with older footage of Day-Lewis. The mega-director still wasn't convinced and told her so.