Preview: Tony Kushner on Bringing Lincoln to Life

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In extended video clips from this weekend’s encore broadcast of Moyers & Company, Tony Kushner, the Pulitzer Prize-winning screenwriter behind Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln, talks about his approach to writing the movie and how it affected his own view of democracy.

First, Kushner talks about the difficulty of starting with “too much material,” and making sure his iconic characters came across more human than historical. “Had we failed to make Lincoln come to life — if he’d just been in the film as a kind of a monument — the film would have failed,” Kushner tells Bill.

In this clip, Kushner cautions against “romanticizing” revolution and the necessity of politics, as demonstrated in Lincoln’s presidency. “Always take to the streets,” Kushner tells Bill. “But always make sure there are people in the halls of power who can listen and say ‘Okay, I get it. I’m going to do something about this.'”

Check channels and show times for the next Moyers & Company.

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  • Jc Dufresne

    We just saw the movie this morning and found it to be excellent. It reminds me that politics hasn’t changed much over the last 150 years other than that the teams have shifted allegiances somewhat.

  • Dave Brown

    I wonder what books Mr. Daniel-Day-Lewis read that gave him his position on Lincoln? To say that one of the most loved Presidents should have been killed many years sooner than he was is a little startling. I was all so a little taken back by the reversal of the Democratic and Republican parties and wonder when it occurred? The democrates of Lincolns day where Pro-Slavery and from the south. It appears to me, correct me if I am wrong, reverse is true today.

  • berick

    To answer Mr. Brown: The Democratic party included a number of groups in the 20th Century including both Northern and Labor Democrats and Southern Racist Democrats right into the 1960s. Then the Republican party under Richard Nixon quite intentionally tried and succeeded in peeling those racists away from the Democratic Party and moving them into the Republican Party. The process took decades and is only now truly complete. Look at the representatives in the South during the 40s, 50s, 60s. Nearly all Democrats. Look now. Nearly all Republicans.

  • Jeff Healitt

    But where do you find people in the halls of power who “will” listen, especially if the politicians work on behalf of heavily-funded corporations with opposite agendas?