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Writer Tony Kushner tells how he brought Lincoln to life

By The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

This article was published December 6, 2012 at 11:11 a.m.

To begin to tell the story of Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War in a way that didn’t seem as stiff as a glory shot of a memorial or as outlandish as the sight of the 16th president staking vampires, screenwriter Tony Kushner chose to begin Steven Spielberg’s new film Lincoln in a corner of Arkansas (56 miles south of Little Rock, to be exact) where Union troops repelled a Confederate attack along Arkansas’ Saline River on April 29-30, 1864.

While the site, Jenkins Ferry, is now a state park, it isn’t as well-known as Gettysburg, Pa. Kushner, speaking from his home in New York, says that the battle offered a unique way of beginning Lincoln.

“I was looking for a battle around the time — from ’64. And I wanted a battle where African-American Union soldiers and Confederate soldiers came head to head.”

Read more about Kushner's inspiration for his latest film in tomorrow's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette MovieStyle.

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