National Geographic Channel wows audiences in April with an exciting new film titled “Killing Lincoln”, which premieres in the Philippines on April 14, 2013. The film is an adaptation of the best-selling book Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination That Changed America Forever co-written by controversial media personality Bill O’Reilly and author Martin Dugard, and was produced by Ridley and Tony Scott’s Scott Free Productions. Chronicling the last days of US President Abraham Lincoln at the close of the American Civil War and his brutal assassination by the actor John Wilkes Booth, it also depicts the unprecedented manhunt launched by the US government to bring Booth and his co-conspirators to justice. “Killing Lincoln” is National Geographic’s first original scripted drama, and is directed by Adrian Moat, the Emmy-nominated director of “Gettysburg”. The film garnered a whopping 3.4 million viewers when it premiered on February 17 in the US, scoring the highest viewership in National Geographic Channel history.
Narrated on camera by Oscar-winning actor Tom Hanks, the film was written by Erik Jendresen, who also wrote and produced for the critically acclaimed TV series “Band of Brothers”. Hanks plays the role of storyteller in this docudrama, and “his job is very specific to facts and figures and dates and times. He’s giving the viewer all the background information needed to appreciate and understand the context of the next moment of the story,” said Jendresen.
“Killing Lincoln” is backed by a powerful cast of both veteran and new faces. Playing the venerable role of Abraham Lincoln is Billy Campbell, one of the most experienced character actors in the business. He recently garnered acclaim for his performance as troubled mayoral candidate Darren Richmond on the highly praised TV series “The Killing,” where he was described as “scary and suspenseful, but in a subdued, meditative way that is somehow all the more chilling” by Alessandra Stanley of The New York Times. In 1999, he was nominated for the Best Actor – Drama Series category of the Golden Globe Awards and received a People’s Choice Award in the Favorite Male Performer in a New Television Series category for his role as single father Rick Sammler on the ABC drama “Once and Again”. Campbell has also starred in movies such as “The Rocketeer,” “Gettysburg,” “The Night We Never Met,” “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” and “Enough,” opposite Jennifer Lopez, besides numerous turns on the stage such as in “Fortinbras,” for which he received a 1996 Ovation Award, as well as “Backbone of America,” “Hamlet,” “Guys & Dolls” and “The Best Man.”
John Wilkes Booth is the other important character in “Killing Lincoln” who, before this film, had never been portrayed in-depth and has always been shrouded in mystery. In a breakthrough performance that shows the complexity of this Shakespearean-actor-turned-assassin, Jesse Johnson breathes life into the character and resurrects John Wilkes Booth back from the graveyard of history book footnotes. Although a newcomer to the bigger scene, Johnson has a wealth of experience under his belt from working on off-Hollywood projects such as Internet series, Spanish television shows and indie films, and he has appeared on US TV shows such as “Nash Bridges,”“Law & Order” and a role in the 2003 TNT Award Winning original drama “Word of Honor.”
The cast of “Killing Lincoln” is further strengthened by its supporting actors. Playing Mary Todd Lincoln, wife of the president, is Geraldine Hughes, a veteran stage actress who has also appeared on such shows as “Nurse Jackie,” “Mercy,” “The Good Wife,” “Law & Order,” “Murder, She Wrote: The Celtic Riddle,” and “ER.” She also starred in the movies “Gran Torino” and “Rocky Balboa”. Meanwhile, Graham Beckel plays President Lincoln’s secretary of war, Edwin Stanton. Beckel has had countless appearances on TV playing tough roles on shows such as “CSI: New York;” “Castle;” “The Cleaner;” “CSI: Miami;” “Heroes;” “Raines;” “Grey’s Anatomy;” and “Wanted.” He also played the roles of L.D. Newsome in director Ang Lee’s “Brokeback Mountain” and Detective Sgt. Dick Stensland opposite Russell Crowe, Kevin Spacey and Guy Pearce in Curtis Hanson’s award-winning “L.A. Confidential.”
Catch the two-hour Philippine premiere of “Killing Lincoln” on National Geographic Channel on April 14, 2013 at 9 PM.