How Tony Kushner made Lincoln talk
The movie’s vivid 19th-century dialogue is an achievement of its own
Imagine that you’re Steven Spielberg and you need a script for your new film: a meticulous re-creation of the final months in the life of Abraham Lincoln. Keep in mind that it’s a modern Hollywood blockbuster but is set a century and a half ago. It portrays real people with distinctive regional quirks, and revolves around perhaps the greatest orator in American history. Oh, and it’s two and a half hours of mostly talking. How would you ensure that the language of the film was just right?