Daniel Day-Lewis to play Abraham Lincoln in Spielberg film

Actor Daniel Day Lewis poses for a portrait in New York, November 15, 2009. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Oscar-winning British actor Daniel Day-Lewis has been tapped to play U.S. president Abraham Lincoln in an upcoming film directed by Steven Spielberg, the DreamWorks movie studio said on Friday.

“Lincoln” is based on the best-selling book, “Team of Rivals” by Pulitzer Prize winner Doris Kearns Goodwin. It profiles the president and his political clashes with the members of his White House cabinet as the United States engaged in civil war from 1861-1865.

Day-Lewis is a four-time Oscar nominee and two-time winner of the film industry’s top honors. He earned one Academy Award for best actor in 1989’s “My Left Foot” and a second for 2007’s “There Will Be Blood” playing a ruthless oil baron.

“Daniel Day-Lewis would have always been counted as one of the greatest of actors were he from the silent era, the golden age of film or even some time in cinema’s distant future. I am grateful and inspired that our paths will finally cross with ‘Lincoln,’” Spielberg said in a statement.

The screenplay was written by another Pulitzer winner, “Angels in America” writer Tony Kushner. Filming is set to begin in 2011, and the movie is scheduled to land in theaters in 2012.

Editing by Christine Kearney