Spielberg’s Lincoln will just have to settle for being a prequel, as Robert Redford is teaming up with writer James Solomon to direct the story of Lincoln’s assassination, and the turbulence that followed. The film’s focus will be on Wilkes Booth supporter Mary Surratt, and is titled The Conspirator.

Played against the volcanic political and social landscape of America post-assassination, it will largely center on the trail, conviction, and hanging of Mary Surratt. Frederick Allen, who was the appointed defender of Surratt, will also play a large role, along with the most famous conspirator- John Wilkes Booth. The long-time-no-see James McAvoy is “said to be at the top of their list for one of the lead roles…” -likely Booth or Allen.

There is a lot of interest to Mary Surratt’s story, as her protracted imprisonment and trial were seen as a way to lure out her son John, who was on the run. John was a part of the original kidnapping plot and was never convicted. During Surratt’s trial, the prosecution withheld John Wilkes Booth’s diary, which detailed the plot that Surratt assisted as a kidnapping scheme instead of an assassination conspiracy, and may have prevented her outright execution. There was even a recommendation-to-the-president by Surratt’s military judges that she be imprisoned for life- a recommendation President Andrew Johnson is reported to have not seen.

Redford is set to shoot the project independently this fall, with North American rights still up for sale.

Source | THR.com’s Risky Biz Blog

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