Sally Field: How I Became Mary Todd Lincoln
Steven Spielberg initially rejected her—twice
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Posted Nov 12, 2012 11:36 AM CST
Actress Sally Field attends The Film Society of Lincoln Center gala tribute to honor actor Tom Hanks at Alice Tully Hall on Monday, April 27, 2009 in New York.   (AP Photo/Evan Agostini)

(Newser) – Sally Field, who stars as Mary Todd Lincoln in Steven Spielberg's Lincoln, started wishing for the part before Team of Rivals, the book on which the movie is based, was even complete. Spielberg promised to consider Field in 2001, but by the time Daniel Day-Lewis came onboard as Lincoln himself, Field was a decade older than him—while Mary was 10 years younger than Abe in reality—and 15 years older than Mary had been in 1865. Ultimately, Spielberg called to tell her she wasn't getting the part: “He said, ‘We’re not wearing prosthetics. The lighting will be harsh,'" Field tells New York.

But she was undaunted. "I said, ‘I don’t care what I look like as long as I look like Mary Todd. And I will look like Mary Todd!’" Spielberg agreed she could do a screen test, but ended up rejecting her again after that. Field continued begging, so Spielberg let Day-Lewis see the screen test, and the actor agreed to do a final audition with Field. She prepared by steeping herself in Mary's life. Upon seeing Day-Lewis for the first time at the audition, "I gave him my hand," Field recalls. "I looked up and said ‘Mr. Lincoln,’ and he said ‘Mother.’ That’s what they said to each other. I felt this audible hush in the room.” After an hour of improvising as the Lincolns with Day-Lewis, Field finally won the part. Click for the full profile or check out the glowing reviews of Lincoln.

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Showing 3 of 16 comments
Nov 16, 2012 12:16 PM CST
Sally Fields would be great in any movie.
Nov 12, 2012 5:40 PM CST
This woman is a talent powerhouse! She becomes whatever the role call for....from the fun stuff of Sister the "girl midget" Gidget the tortured Carrie/Frog of the Smokey and the Bandit movies... as well as the love interest for an older man in Murphy's Romance. She was one of the Steel Magnolias....Norma Rae.....Forrest's Mama, Mrs. Gump! and even Spidys Aunt May! That is one broad spectrum of character types...and she did them all beautifully. She is truly on of Hollywoods elite!
Nov 12, 2012 4:54 PM CST
She'd look much better and could lay off the Boniva if she had never used the ILLEGAL TOBACCO DRUG!