The story of Jackie Earle Haley is a pretty amazing one. The actor found modest success as a child actor and continued with his career into the mid ’80s with appearances on both television and the big screen before moving behind the camera for the next couple of decades as a modest producer and director of commercials. But he returned to the big screen with a vengeance with a memorable turn as a pedophile in Todd Field‘s “Little Children” and from there, he’s seen an amazing resurgence. With stints in “Watchmen,” “Shutter Island,” “A Nightmare On Elm Street” and in Tim Burton‘s forthcoming “Dark Shadows,” Haley has established himself as one of the best character actors going and he’s adding another big name director and project to his impressive resume.
Though it’s a bit obviously villainous, Haley will take on the role of pro-slavery Confederate Alexander Stephens in Steven Spielberg‘s “Lincoln” according to Deadline. The Vice President of the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War, Stephens vehemently opposed Lincoln’s plans to reform slavery, and in his infamous Cornerstone Speech, he argued, “Our new Government is founded upon exactly the opposite ideas; its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and moral condition.” Nice guy.
Haley joins a stupidly awesome cast that includes Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tommy Lee Jones, John Hawkes, Hal Holbrook, James Spader, Tim Blake Nelson, Bruce McGill, Joseph Cross, David Strathairn, Walton Goggins and Lee Pace for the film that will focus on the last four months of Lincoln’s life. So what does that mean? The closing days of the American Civil War; the Second Battle of Fort Fisher; the Burning of Columbia and the Battle of Bentonville, Lincoln’s landslide re-election, his second inaugural address, and the passing of the thirteenth amendment are all up for grabs for coverage in the movie, though of course, the scope of the project remains to be seen.
Based on the best-selling book, “Team of Rivals” by Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Doris Kearns Goodwin and featuring a script by Tony Kushner (”Angels In America”), shooting will begin later this year in Virginia with a fall 2012 release date — after the presidential election — in the works.