Day-Lewis prepped for ‘Lincoln’ by coming to Illinois

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Two-time Academy Award winner Daniel Day-Lewis’ preparations to play Abraham Lincoln on film included secretly spending time on the former president’s turf.

Day-Lewis, along with historian Doris Kearns Goodwin and producer Kathleen Kennedy, came to Springfield in November 2010 to tour Lincoln sites, at times standing in the Old State Capitol’s chamber and asking to be left alone for 10 minutes, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. At the time, the public didn’t know what Day-Lewis was filming.

Steven Spielberg’s film “Lincoln,” which is just Day-Lewis’ fifth film in the past 15 years, details the months leading up to the president’s assassination in April 1865, as he maneuvers to pass the 13th amendment, abolishing slavery and ending the Civil War.

Day-Lewis had hoped to go unnoticed in Springfield, wearing sunglasses and a fedora at the museum that, in 2011, had more than 293,000 visitors, the Associated Press reported.

But as the secret tour pressed forward, the group stopped at a coffee shop, where the actor accidentally blew his cover.

“His phone rang and he said, ‘Hello, this is Daniel Day-Lewis,’?” Dave Blanchette, deputy director of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, recalled. “Then the secret was out,” evidenced by the flood of picture-taking and tweeting by onlookers.

Goodwin said recently that Day-Lewis told her “those days in Springfield were really important.”

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