For more than a week, visitors to historic Capitol Square have tried to catch a glimpse of the filming for Steven Spielberg’s flick on Abraham Lincoln.
Actors dressed as Union soldiers have been spotted in and around the Capitol (even legislators’s parking spaces were snapped up) and the film’s stars have been seen around town.
Tommy Lee Jones was seen at Acacia Mid-Town. Daniel Day Lewis at the Hill Cafe. Sally Field at Comfort. And Spielberg himself at Urban Farmhouse.
This morning — yes Election Day -- Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) will hold a news conference with the movie’s producer, Kathleen Kennedy, and Chris Dodd, head of the Motion Picture Association of America.
The three will highlight the economic impact the film industry has on Virginia.
The economic impact of the film industry in the state last year was $344 million, with 2,700 Virginians working in the industry, according to the governor’s office.
The Lincoln movie will be filmed in Petersburg and Richmond, including at the state Capitol and Executive Mansion, the nation’s oldest continuously used governor’s mansion. Crews were recently spotted in Williamsburg.
The film is based on the 2005 book “Team of Rivals” by Doris Kearns Goodwin and stars Day-Lewis as Lincoln and Field as Mary Todd Lincoln.
The film will be given $1 million from the Governor’s Motion Picture Opportunity Fund, $2.5 million from the Virginia Motion Picture Tax Credit program and $1.1 million in in-kind contributions. The amount of funding awarded to a project is based on the number of Virginia workers hired and the amount of Virginia-based goods and services procured.
Lincoln, the 16th president, visited Richmond, the former capital of the confederacy, in April 1865, right after the city fell and shortly before he was assassinated.
Spielberg was scouting locations in Richmond in November when he stopped in to meet with state film officials.
The next day, Spielberg announced that his long-anticipated Lincoln movie would focus on the road to abolition and the end of the Civil War.
McDonnell called Spielberg in December to help try to convince him to bring his new movie to Virginia.
The General Assembly approved an amendment in April to the state’s two-year, $78 billion budget that would include $1.5 million to replenish the state’s motion picture opportunity fund after money was set aside for the Spielberg movie.
Legislators also passed a bill this year allowing a tax credit of up to 20 percent for movies filmed in the state with expenses of at least $250,000 for taxable years beginning Jan.1, 2011.