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Steven Spielberg's 'Lincoln': The 'Girls' and 'Breaking Bad' connection

October 18, 2012|By Steven Zeitchik and Rebecca Keegan
  • Bruce McGill, Gloria Reuben and Walton Goggins are three of the actors used in "Lincoln."
Bruce McGill, Gloria Reuben and Walton Goggins are three of the actors used… (TNT / NBC / FX )

At a screening of Steven Spielberg’s "Lincoln" during the New York Film Festival last week, there was a moment when laughter rippled across a distinct demographic of the audience: the under-30 set. The reason? The sudden appearance on-screen of Adam Driver, best known as the obnoxious-yet-endearing Adam from HBO’s youthful hit "Girls." Driver’s persona on the TV series is unmistakable, and it’s impossible not to react to the sight of him, in period garb, offering serious utterances as a telegraph operator.

As astute film fans may have already noticed from the trailer, Spielberg surrounds his core cast of Daniel Day-Lewis, Tommy Lee Jones, Sally Field, David Strathairn and Joseph Gordon-Levitt with other actors like Driver -- personalities who gained fame away from the big screen, looking and acting very different from the way we know them. (There are more than 140 speaking parts in the film, which opens in limited release on Nov. 9.)

These actors can temporarily break the spell of the period world Spielberg and his team have created, reminding you that it’s not in fact 1865 and that you have several episodes of "Boardwalk Empire" sitting on your DVR at home.

On the other hand, they can also be a pleasant little surprise. How often do you get to watch a historical drama about the U.S. presidency and exclaim "Hey, that’s Rothstein" right in middle of the movie?

In no particular order, then, here are some of the "Lincoln" actors who will have you nudging your date — along with the skinny on where they come from and which historical figure they play.

Adam Driver

Driver, a.k.a. Lena Dunham's frisky bedmate on HBO's "Girls," appears in a brief but crucial scene in "Lincoln" as telegraph operator Samuel Beckwith. In a break from his "Girls" persona, Driver is both fully dressed and deferential opposite Day-Lewis as the 16th president.

Click here to see more unexpected actors in one of the season's most high-profile movies.

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