In a blockbuster-filled film career, Steven Spielberg found his experience with "Lincoln" and Richmond unique. The acclaimed director, 65, spent three months last year using locations in Richmond and Petersburg to film his movie about the last four months of Abraham Lincoln's life.
"I had an amazing time in Richmond," Spielberg said.
"My wife and I and my children all loved the experience of being in Richmond," he added. "The experience of making 'Lincoln' there made us all want to come back and make another movie there." He has five children, the youngest being 17, with Kate Capshaw, whom he married in 1991. A son, 27, was born during his marriage to Amy Irving.
He credited cooperation on all levels, from the governor's office to the police department, with making it easy to film here.
"I just felt symbolically also to shoot this picture in Richmond, which was the seat of the Confederacy; I felt there was a healing that spanned 150 years that might have taken place," he added.
Adapted from Doris Kearns Goodwin's book "Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln," the movie focuses on the U.S. president's struggle to get a constitutional amendment abolishing slavery passed by Congress before the war ended. "Lincoln" was released in major cities this weekend and will open in Richmond on Friday.
Richmond and Petersburg locations generally stood in for Washington, where most of the historical events took place. Appomattox was re-created on the grounds of Maymont. Petersburg also had a few opportunities to play itself.
"Lincoln" is the third movie Spielberg has made in Virginia, but the first time he'd been in the state capital, he said.
He previously filmed "Minority Report" near the Chesapeake Bay and parts of "War of the Worlds" near Lexington, said Andrew Edmunds, interim film director for Virginia.
Spielberg's favorite spots in Richmond were limited to those he could easily reach from his apartment at Vistas on the James, which he leased from Bob and Dougie Scudder. As the couple waited to see the film's Richmond premiere, they recalled being invited over for a cocktail party with him and his family.
Morton's and Sine Irish Pub in nearby Shockoe Slip were among Spielberg's hangouts.
"You have to understand my job as director. Pretty much I'm a shut-in at the end of the shooting day, and I'm pretty much a workaholic during the day," he said. "I just went from apartment to work and from work to apartment.
"I went to a couple good pubs. I had some really good food in Richmond. Richmond has good restaurants. Richmond has really nice people."
He was a little surprised by the sentiments of a few re-enactors.
"We did have some young people who turned down work because they did not want to put on the Union uniform. That surprised me," he said.
"But those were isolated moments, and they only come to mind because I wasn't accustomed to that because I live in Los Angeles. Those were very isolated moments and did not dominate our incredible experience of cooperation in making this movie in Richmond."
Lincoln has been one of Spielberg's favorite figures in American history as long as he can remember. When Goodwin told him in 1999 that she was working on a book about the Lincoln White House, Spielberg asked immediately about buying the movie rights.
Most Popular Stories
- Twitter Coming to Phones Without Internet
- Entravision Initiates Quarterly Cash Dividend
- NASA Fellowships, Scholarships Bring Diversity to Workforce
- Dish Network Leads 2013 Top 50 Advertisers List
- Networks Vie for U.S. Hispanic TV Viewers
- Ad Counts Rise in 2013 for Hispanic Magazines
- Warner Bros. Unleashes 'Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug' Merchandise
- Shanghai Smog Forces Factory Shutdowns
- Amanda Bynes Enrolls in California's FIDM
- How to Arm Yourself Against CryptoLocker Virus