Steven Spielberg took more than 10 years to research his film about Abraham Lincoln. He wanted to get it just right because he's always wanted to tell the story of America's 16th president. It's a story of leadership and healing, both relevant topics in today's world, he tells Lesley Stahl in his first interview about the upcoming film, which he says is like no other he has ever done.
The interview, which will contain the first clips from the film "Lincoln," will be broadcast on 60 Minutes on Sunday, Oct. 21 at 7:30 p.m. ET and 7:00 p.m. PT.
"I've always wanted to tell a story about Lincoln. I saw a paternal father figure, someone who was completely, stubbornly committed to his ideals, his vision," he tells Stahl. "I think the film is very relevant for today. It's about leadership."
The film covers a four-month period of Lincoln's presidency in which he is absorbed with trying to get Congress to pass the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery. It follows the political process closely and accurately portrays a drama few have heard about from the last four months of Lincoln's life. Spielberg says he's never done a film like "Lincoln," with its attention to the political process and lack of big action scenes and special effects. "I knew I could do the action in my sleep at this point in my career. In my life, the action doesn't ...attract me anymore," says the man responsible for such action legends as "Jaws" and "Jurassic Park."
In this film, Spielberg explores the drama and darkness inside the head of one of history's greatest figures. "I think there's a sense of darkness...with him," he tells Stahl about Lincoln. "He was living with two agendas, both of which had to do with healing...first, to abolish slavery, end the war. But he also had his personal life and I think there's darkness in there," says Spielberg.
Spielberg's personal life, his childhood in particular, is often reflected in his films and characters. Lesley Stahl speaks at length to him about that relationship and also sits down with his parents. In a fascinating discussion of Spielberg's childhood, his parents reveal a truth even their son didn't know for many years.