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“I pretty much take no for an answer”: Steven Spielberg Has Never Pushed Any Actor Too Hard For a Role Except One Oscar Winner

Reviewed By: Swagata Das

"I pretty much take no for an answer": Steven Spielberg Has Never Pushed Any Actor Too Hard For a Role Except One Oscar Winner

From being rejected from the University of Southern California School of Theatre, Film and Television to certain actors turning down his films, Steven Spielberg has faced his fair share of rejections. But losing selection in a certain institution and facing rejections from actors, including Jeff Bridges, who turned down Spielberg’s Jaws, it didn’t stop the director’s ascend to the top.

And while the Jaws director has grown persistent in facing refusals throughout his decades-long prominence in Hollywood, there are few instances when he wasn’t ready to take no for an answer.

Also read: Steven Spielberg Claims Tom Hanks’ Oscar-Winning Performance in $206M Film Almost Made Him Forget That He Knew the Actor in Real Life

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Steven Spielberg
Steven Spielberg

Steven Spielberg Was Fixated on Getting Daniel Day-Lewis Onboard

Although in the case of Jaws, where Steven Spielberg originally imagined Jeff Bridges as Matt Hooper’s adventure horror, he wasn’t downcast by Bridge’s rejection, moving on with Richard Dreyfuss. But in the case of 2012’s Lincoln, Spielberg was hell-bent on getting Daniel Day-Lewis on board and wasn’t ready to settle with anyone else

Daniel Day Lewis in Lincoln
Lincoln (2012)

Despite facing rejection after offering his script for the period drama, Spielberg asked his friend Leonardo DiCaprio for a favor. Fortunately, DiCaprio did convince Day-Lewis to give a shot to Tony Kushner’s script for Lincoln, which the Men in Black producer ended up making.

“I’ve never gone on a campaign before, I pretty much take no for an answer. It’s one of the few times in my entire life where I was not willing to accept that answer.” Spielberg told Deadline.

Part of the reason why the Academy Award Winner was so fixated on getting Day-Lewis to play Abraham Lincoln was the actor’s unreal commitment that he brings to every role he plays.

Also read: “I’m gonna do the shot”: Matt Damon’s Request Fell on Empty Ears as Clint Eastwood and Steven Spielberg Snarkily Rejected Oscar Winner’s Suggestions 

Daniel Day-Lewis and Steven Spielberg
Daniel Day-Lewis and Steven Spielberg

Steven Spielberg Had the Material to Make Lincoln a TV Show

But before settling for the big screens, Steven Spielberg did have a desire to craft Lincoln as a six-hour show, considering the initial draft of Tony Kushner was 550 pages. However, the filmmaker didn’t succeed in raising the required financing to bring his vision to fruition and was also uncertain whether Daniel Day-Lewis would stick for a TV Show or not.

“I was willing to do ‘Lincoln’ as a six-hour [show], No one believed in it…I went around town and everyone turned me down. I was ready to make a deal with HBO to do it and expand it to six hours. Tony Kushner’s first draft was 550 pages, so I had the goods! I had the material. I was on the brink of that.” Spielberg explained on SmartLess.

Also read: “What his father did to him was intolerable”: Steven Spielberg Claimed Alfred Hitchcock’s Darkest Movie Was Actually Inspired by Late Director’s Childhood Trauma That Shaped His Career

Lincoln (2012)
Daniel Day-Lewis | Lincoln (2012)

This isn’t the lone time Spielberg was adamant about getting a certain actor on board. Back in the 90s,  the director sent a helicopter for Will Smith and offered him a carbonated lemonade in order to bring Smith in for Men in Black after the actor initially turned down the offer.

Lincoln is available to rent on Apple TV.

Source: Deadline

Written by Santanu Roy

Santanu Roy is a film enthusiast with a deep love for the medium of animation while also being obsessed with Batman and The Everly Brothers. Apart from pursuing animation and analyzing movies, he possesses a deep fondness for narrative-driven games and is currently a content writer at Fandomwire with over 800 articles.