Steven Spielberg took more than 10 years to research his film about the 16th president of the United States before he began filming the movie “Lincoln.”
And two local Louisa residents, Greg Hosaflook and Eleanor Perkinson, participated in the 2011 making of the movie which portrays an unfamiliar political drama that unfolded during the last four-months of Lincoln’s life.
Perkinson, who resides in Louisa with her husband David and sons (Andrew and Benjamin) and has worked as a professional actress for nine years, was the stand-in for actress Sally Fields during the filming of “Lincoln” in the Richmond and Petersburg areas.
She said being a stand-in is a unique bridge between the world of the crew on a movie set and the world of the actor. Perkinson’s job was to walk through the scene and stand where she was placed as Spielberg composed the shot.
Hosaflook, who lives in Louisa with his wife, Susie, portrayed a radical republican congressman, John McKenzie seen during several scenes in the house chamber and while casting his vote regarding the amendment.
Local actors said the film was very intense and dedicated to depicting the period of time in Lincoln’s presidency when he is consumed with trying to get Congress to pass the 13th Amendment, which would abolish slavery.
Perkinson said the actors were focused and the caliber of acting was phenomenal. Hosaflook agreed, calling the acting “remarkable.”
“To be able to see it live that was quite impressive,” Perkinson said.
Hosaflook said it was fun watching everything go like clockwork during the making of the film with everybody working great together.
Hosaflook said working on the film was like being transported back in time.
“They did a marvelous job at having the state legislature looking as much as possible as the 1865 time period,” he explained.
He said he enjoyed wearing the period costumes, but sitting through make-up was another matter.
“They put a lot of junk in your hair to mat it down to give it the appearance of hat hair,” Hosaflook said. “That was custom back then, because people did not wash their hair often. So, when they wore their top hats, it would mat their hair down and stick out above the top of the ears.”
Perkinson and Hosaflook said that the movie stars tried to keep themselves secluded to study their lines and stay in character, but whenever the stars were approached or came onto the set they were nice and pleasant to everyone.
Hosaflook remembered starting up a conversation with Tommy Lee Jones, who was playing the role of a firebrand abolitionist congressman, Thaddeus Stevens, between takes.
“He was a good guy,” Hosaflook said.
Perkinson also enjoyed meeting a lot of great actors from across the country.
But the biggest thrill for Perkinson was working with Spielberg. Chatting with him and having him direct her on where and what she needed to do.
To read the entire story, see the Nov. 15 edition of The Central Virginian.