Screen Talk: Day-Lewis to play Honest Abe

There is a fine line in Hollywood these days between being regarded as an out and out star and as an actor of repute.

Occasionally the two go hand in hand and, from a studio point of view, a star is usually a talent who can attract box office for just showing up on screen. Daniel Day-Lewis (above left) commands a special place in the hearts of studio chiefs, not least because he is known for being very selective over his movie roles. But when both Steven Spielberg and DreamWorks co-chief and CEO Stacey Snider come out in praise of him before they've uttered a word in anger, then everyone knows a big project is a-coming. Day-Lewis is to take on the role of former US president Abraham Lincoln in the long-in-development biopic to be directed by Spielberg, named Lincoln. The playwright Tony Kushner has adapted the screenplay from the Doris Kearns Goodwin book Team of Rivals. Liam Neeson was once attached to take on the role. DreamWorks expects to have the film in theatres late in 2012. Spielberg is currently filming War Horse, set for release stateside 28 December, 2011, and he is due to start filming Robopocalypse in January 2012 for a 2013 release. So the Lincoln shoot will take place in between.

Lohan seeks sobriety

Lindsay Lohan's ongoing rehab and battle for sobriety continues to fascinate the public, dominate the local morning news in Hollywood and impact her career development. Lohan (above centre) recently fell victim to the ambitions of the team behind the Linda Lovelace biopic, Inferno, to which she was signed to play the lead. Malin Akerman is to step into Lohan's Jimmy Choos for the part. The director Matthew Wilder told E! News they are negotiating and working out the legalities of bring Akerman in. With Akerman in the part, Wilder believes the stalled project will get back on track with plans to shoot in the first quarter of 2011. Lohan, meanwhile, is currently living at a sober-living facility in Rancho Mirage, California.

The Zombieland duo thrive

Hollywood loves a script with a good moral dilemma at its heart. Especially if there might be room for a few laughs involving dead folks. The writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, the duo behind Zombieland, have been attached to make their directorial debut with comedy Doc and Howie. The TV writer-producer Steve Leff penned the original screenplay, which details the story of the two title characters who accidentally kill an elderly woman when they neglect to help her carry her groceries up the stairs. In a fortuitous twist the incident brings them into contact with the woman's attractive granddaughters and they struggle with whether or not to tell the young ladies the truth. The pair is also writing a Zombieland sequel for Columbia, and a G.I. Joe follow up for Paramount. Their project Earth vs Moon is also in development at Universal.

Firthy language

Being given an R-rating in the US is never good news for box-office prospects because it rules out many teens. But observers say that the aforementioned rating slapped on The King's Speech shouldn't hurt its Oscar chances. After all, the past six Best Picture Academy award winners were rated R. And Colin Firth (above right) as the King does spout the swearing as an exercise to overcome his stutter so he can give a rousing oration to beat Hitler.

Death threats

Hollywood is all a twitter with the disturbing development that half a dozen LA area casting directors have received death threats. Six of them, including ones based out of Fox Studios and Warner Bros' lot, have been on the receiving end of rather unpleasant phone calls. The motivations behind the threats are still not known. And now no one is saying anything, other than to the police.