Spielberg keeps threatening to make movies. Every couple of months we get a whole new raft of pictures that he says he’ll make, and every time he finishes a movie everybody (including, I’m assuming, studio heads) starts trying to figure out which one will actually be next.

One film that has been a perennial player in this game has been his Lincoln biopic. Spielberg has had Liam Neeson on the bench for this one for what feels like a decade; journalists have stopped asking Neeson about it because everybody feels bad for the guy. But now word comes that Neeson’s presidential purgatory may be coming to an end and that the Lincoln movie could be not only made but in theaters this year.

Last night Tony Kushner, award winning playwright, screenwriter of Munich and writer of Spielberg’s Lincoln movie, was giving a talk at a Harvard University symposium on Lincoln, Lincoln: The Man And His Logs; someone in the audience text messaged Jeffrey Wells of Hollywood Elsewhere* the deetz on the movie.

[A] longtime HE reader in attendance informs by cell-phone e-mail that Kushner has said “the decision will be made on Lincoln next week” and that if the green light is given the film will be “out by Christmas.”
That’s pretty fast work for a expensive period film that’ll use a lot
of CG, no? Even if Spielberg passes on Civil War battle scenes.

Kushner also said that Lincoln “only covers two months of his life,” my guy says, and that “the first draft covered four months and [was] 500 pages.”

Kushner also said that the 13th amendment — the abolition of
slavery and involuntary servitude — “is a big thing in the movie.”

Having the film out by Christmas is pretty important, since this year marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of our nation’s gangliest president. And if anybody could mount, film, edit and release a huge biopic like this in less than a year, it’s Spielberg, a guy who has proven that Old Hollywood speed is not a completely lost art. Hell, he shot, edited and junketed Munich over the course of a long weekend.

* but not Oxford, MS