Robert Redford is ready to give directing another shot (no pun intended) with a film that revolves around the aftermath of Abraham Lincoln's assassination. Variety reports that James McAvoy and Robin Wright Penn have signed on to star in the film. The Conspirator tells the story of alleged conspirator Mary Surratt (Penn), the lone woman in the group charged with conspiring to kill Lincoln. Surratt's attorney, Frederick Aiken (McAvoy), reluctantly defends her and eventually grows to believe she's innocent.
The film will be the first financed by the American Film Co. headed by Joe Ricketts. The company was formed with the goal of creating historically accurate American stories. To help achieve this goal, Lincoln assassination experts Thomas Turner and US Army regimental historian Col. Fred Borch will be advisers on the project.
Redford's last directing project Lions for Lambs was a flop, even with big names like Tom Cruise and Meryl Streep. He has to be eager to redeem himself when this film starts filming in October.
You may be wondering if this project has any relation to Steven Spielberg's Lincoln film, which hasn't made it past the planning stages yet. It's completely different. There are no hard feelings toward Redford for pulling the trigger (this time, pun intended) before Spielberg. When asked about the film, Spielberg said, "We are very happy that Redford will be doing this Lincoln movie. It is completely different from what our DreamWorks Lincoln movie will be, and we believe that it will add to the commercial potential of our film. Lincoln as a subject is inexhaustible."