Superstar director Steven Spielberg and the production team of his upcoming Abraham Lincoln biopic will be feted at a reception Monday night at the Virginia’s governor mansion.
The 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.
The film is based on the 2005 book “Team of Rivals” by Doris Kearns Goodwin and will star Daniel Day-Lewis as Lincoln and Sally Field as Mary Todd Lincoln. Crews will be setting up in Richmond the second week of October.
Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) and his wife, Maureen, will host the reception to thank the crew for coming to Virginia. About 200 people are expected, including state legislators and former governor Gerald Baliles (D) and his wife, Robin (alas, we were not invited). Day-Lewis and Field are not expected to attend.
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 procurred.
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 to have lunch with Rita McClenny, director of the Virginia Film Office, and Andy Edmunds, the office’s location manager, at Millie’s Diner.
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 two men spoke for about 20 minutes — mostly about their shared interest in World War II, sources in McDonnell’s administration tell us.
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.