When casting seems too good to be true, it usually is. According to a Digital Spy report, Neeson is no longer slated to play our 16th President in Steven Spielberg's long-gestating Abraham Lincoln biopic, the actor recently stating that "I was attached to it for a while, but now I'm past my sell-by date." An odd comment to make given how flagrantly untrue it is, and all. Whatever factors contributed to Neeson and Spielberg parting ways over this stagnant project, I find it enormously difficult to believe that any involved parties were motivated by a sincere belief that Neeson is no longer appropriate for the role.
As wonderfully natural as he was in the shoes of Darkman, Oskar Schindler, or K-19: The Widowmaker's Mikhail Polenin (er... scratch that last one) Abraham Lincoln is perhaps the role that Neeson and his towering gravitas were born to play. Beyond the fact that he's of the ideal height and stature, Neeson's capacity for blending brusque confidence with a profound tranquility have always made him seem an obvious candidate to play Honest Abe, and I anticipated his second collaboration with Spielberg largely because I thought he might make for the best Lincoln since Henry Fonda. And unless Spielberg was quietly planning on going all X-Men: First Class with this film and setting it during Lincoln's teen years, Neeson sure still looks the part (he's 58 - Lincoln was 55 going on 112 when he was killed).