Billy Campbell to Star in National Geographic's KILLING LINCOLN
National Geographic Channel (NGC) today announced that actor Billy Campbell has been cast as Abraham Lincoln and actor Jesse Johnson will play John Wilkes Booth in the two-hour upcoming television film KILLING LINCOLN by Ridley and Tony Scott's Scott Free Productions.
Adrian Moat, of the critically hailed and award-winning "Gettysburg," is directing the script by Emmy(R)-award winner writer Erik Jendresen ("Band of Brothers"), which is based on Bill O'Reilly's New York Times best-selling book Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination that Changed America Forever with co-author Martin Dugard. The film is set to air globally on NGC in early 2013. Production begins today in Richmond, Va., and surrounding areas and will continue through early August.
National Geographic Channel also announced today that industry veteran Teri Ellen Weinberg ("The Office," "The Tudors," "Ugly Betty") is joining the production as an executive producer for the network, working closely with Scott Free Productions and Herzog & Co. ("Gettysburg").
Billy Campbell, who was born in Charlottesville, Va., most recently portrayed Darren Richmond in AMC's "The Killing," but he is perhaps best known for his role as Rick Sammler on "Once and Again," for which he was nominated for a Golden Globe Award and won a People's Choice Award. Additional television roles have included Det. Joey Indelli on "Crime Story," Jordan Collier on "The 4400," and Dr. Jon Fielding on the "Tales of the City" miniseries. His most notable films include "The Rocketeer," "Bram Stoker's Dracula" and "Enough." Said Campbell, "It's maybe the most defining crime in America's history, certainly in its history to that point. I'm thrilled to be part of this, and immensely grateful to National Geographic Channel, and to the ScOtt Brothers, for the honor and the challenge of playing such a cherished yet controversial figure as Lincoln."
Jesse Johnson, the son of actor Don Johnson, most recently completed work as a series regular on the hit Spanish television comedy "Con El Culo Al Aire." He starred in the indie film "Chapman," the NBC pilot "A Mann's World," and the Myspace.com film "Circle of Eight." Other film and TV credits include "The Back-Up Bride," "Dreamtime's Over," "My Life: Untitled," "Redline," "Nash Bridges," "Law & Order" and "Word of Honor." "John Wilkes Booth has been dismissed as a scoundrel and a madman," he says. "Yet I was drawn to the part because he is a fascinating character that is fanatical, yet complicated and passionate."
Additional casting announcements include Geraldine Hughes as Mary Todd Lincoln, Graham Beckel as Edwin Stanton, who served as secretary of war under the Lincoln administration, and Shawn Pyfrom as Private John W. Nichols. Hughes' extensive TV credits include "Law & Order: Criminal Intent," "Nurse Jackie" and "The Good Wife," among others, but she may be best known for her portrayal of "Little Marie" in "Rocky Balboa" and Clint Eastwood's daughter-in-law in "Gran Torino."
Beckel has made a rich career playing tough character roles, such as L. D. Newsome in "Brokeback Mountain" and Detective Sgt. Dick Stensland in the award-winning "L.A. Confidential." Other film credits include "Pearl Harbor," "Bulworth," "True Crime" and "Leaving Las Vegas." Recent TV credits include guest roles on "Scandal," "CSI: New York," "Castle," "CSI: Miami," "Heroes" and "Grey's Anatomy."
Shawn Pyfrom has appeared in several television series and movies, and is best known for his portrayal of Andrew Van de Kamp on ABC's "Desperate Housewives." Pyfrom's character Private John W. Nichols is the young member of Company K, 150th Massachusetts Volunteers (also known as the "the bucktails"), who bore witness to a possible assassination attempt in August 1864 - 8 months before Lincoln was killed.
The two-hour special Killing Lincoln will capture the riveting narrative style and intimate detail used by O'Reilly in the book, which reinvigorated the story of Lincoln, engrossing readers around the world. Production on the historical thriller will combine rare historical archives, emotionally engaging storytelling and feature-film quality re-enactments with CGI in the signature style of the ScOtt Brothers.
On filming in Virginia, director Adrian Moat explained, "when we started to consider locations for where we would film Killing Lincoln, we felt it was important to look first in the very places where a good portion of our story took place, and that was Virginia. Once we scouted the rich historical locations of Richmond and Petersburg, that was it-we never considered anywhere else. I have fallen in love with this area and its people. I hope that when the audience watches the film, they will be thrilled and enlightened by the story behind the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, but I also hope they will be intrigued about the locations and the history that we have found, and motivated to visit Virginia to experience these places for themselves."
Killing Lincoln is being produced by Scott Free Productions and Herzog & Co. for National Geographic Channel. Executive producers are Ridley Scott and Tony Scott, along with Bill O'Reilly, David Zucker, Mary Lisio, Mark Herzog and Erik Jendresen (also credited as writer). Producer is Christopher Cowen, Herzog & Co., and director is Adrian Moat. For NGC, president is Howard T. Owens, executive producers are Teri Ellen Weinberg and Richard Wells, vice president of production and development is Charlie Parsons, and executive vice president of programming is Michael Cascio.