The past few days have given us a flurry of Lincoln movie news, which you can read about in a series of posts by Brian Dirck (here, here, and here). Robert Redford has a Mary Surratt film in the works, and Spielberg is still pursuing his long-awaited Lincoln project.
Coincidentally, the History Channel has been on a Lincoln assassination kick today, with one documentary on the plot to steal his body and another on Booth’s possible connections to the Confederate government. The latter is on right now; as I type this sentence, Ed Steers, Jr. is giving some on-air commentary. Steers is a diligent Lincoln researcher and the author of Blood on the Moon, a fine book that I highly recommend.
All this reminds me of a story I tell whenever the subject of Lincoln movies or the assassination come up. Steers came to the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum to lecture during my first stint there, back when I was fresh out of college. Steven Wilson (ALLM’s curator and my boss) took Steers and his wife to dinner down in Cumberland Gap that night, and allowed me to tag along.
When the conversation turned to Lincoln movies, Steven jokingly suggested we all produce our own, with himself in the role of Edwin Stanton, and me as John Wilkes Booth. Ed Steers examined me critically for a second or two, and then said approvingly, “Yeah, you’d make a good Booth!”
I was pretty flattered. Remember, this came from one of the foremost Lincoln assassination authorities in the world. Of course, he was comparing me to the murderer of the most beloved figure in American history. But still.
With an endorsement like that, you’d think either Redford or Spielberg would’ve called me by now. Maybe I should get a new agent.