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An Actor Prepares to Play Lincoln

Daniel Day-Lewis is famous for totally immersing himself in roles, and his Oscar-winning turn as Abraham Lincoln was no exception. After last week's ceremony, Day-Lewis opened up about his process, which reportedly included the following:

 He and Sally Field, who portrayed Mary Todd Lincoln, addressed each other only as “Mother” and “Mr. Lincoln,” as the couple did in real life.

◆ He even sent text messages in character.

◆ He built his own log cabin out of rails that he split himself.

◆ Wore a stovepipe hat for a whole year, even to bed and while showering. Made the hat himself from a real stovepipe (even though he was told that stovepipe hats were not made out of stovepipes, they were just called that because of the shape). Made the stovepipe himself, as well as the wrought-iron stove the pipe was attached to. Mined the iron ore by hand and cast it in a foundry, after learning the mining and metalwork trades.

◆ Called Bob Newhart late one night and had the buttoned-down comic do his Abe Lincoln vs. Madison Avenue telephone sketch, while he filled in all of Abe's imagined lines.

◆ Engaged the Franklin Mint to produce a limited-edition penny featuring his own profile. (Only trained experts can distinguish it from an actual penny.) Purchased Franklin Mint and had name changed to Lincoln Mint. Was inspired to create Lincoln Mints, a brand of candies shaped like top hats and beards.

◆ Started the social networking site LincOln.

◆ Hired a team of excavators to (secretly, at night) remove Abraham Lincoln’s head from Mount Rushmore and replace it with a carved likeness of his own head, as Lincoln. Can you tell the difference?

MOUNT RUSHMORE: far right, the visage is not Abraham Lincoln but Oscar-winner Daniel Day-Lewis.

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