Tony Kushner Explains How He Adapted Lincoln for the Age of Obama

Tony Kushner (far left chair) on the set of Lincoln with director Steven Spielberg (far right) / David James © 2012 DreamWorks II Distribution Co., LLC and Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

Tony Kushner isn’t shy about politics. He’s opinionated, and he stirs up controversy. In his own words, he’s a “man of the left.”

His 1992 Tony Award-winning play Angels in America tackled AIDS at the height of its epidemic. In 2005, he co-wrote Steven Spielberg’s Munich, which took heat for its portrayal of Israelis and Palestinians. The latest Kushner-Spielberg project, Lincoln, arrives in L.A. on Nov. 9, three days after the Presidential election.

The film chronicles the final months of Lincoln’s life in 1865 at the end of America’s Civil War. The 16th president was desperately trying to pass the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery. His principal challenge was getting a two-thirds majority vote in the divided House of Representatives.

“Is this a good connection?” Kushner asks via phone last week, on Halloween. He is stranded on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Luckily, he has power and dodged property damage. “It’s a nightmare,” he says. Kushner spent part of Tuesday driving downtown in his car to pick up friends in areas without electricity. His guests were treated to a hot shower and home-cooked meal.

The Village Halloween Parade has been canceled, …

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