Noted historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, who will speak at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in Sioux City, can now join her husband in being involved in films directed by top shelf directors looking back at a notable time in American history. Her husband, Richard Goodwin, wrote a memoir with a chapter on television game shows that led to the great 1994 film "Quiz Show," directed by Robert Redford.
The film summarized the quest by a federal official (her husband) to prove 1950s "Twenty One" show producers fed answers to Charles Van Doren (a telegenic professor played by Ralph Fiennes) so he could defeat former champ (and relative schlub) Herbie Stempel (John Turturro).
Goodwin wrote the 2005 book, "Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln," which is the source material for the biopic "Lincoln" that will be released in November by director Steven Spielberg. That's pretty heady company, having directors Spielberg and Redford involved and the amazing Daniel Day Lewis portraying Lincoln.
"(Quiz Show) was just a terrific movie. So, we were spoiled, in knowing that we had Redford for that and Spielberg for this. So, I think it is time to stop because, whatever happens, I don't think we'd have two better lucks than that," Kearns Goodwin said with a chuckle as she gave an interview in advance of her Morningside College lecture.
I couldn't resist a sly question, since earlier in 2012 there was a film so out of the realm of what people expect about the 16th president. The film, which wasn't a hit, was titled "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter."
IMDB summarizes the plot as this: "Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States, discovers vampires are planning to take over the United States. He makes it his mission to eliminate them." OK, then.
Question: "What do you prefer, a Lincoln movie where he's a vampire hunter or your movie?"
Kearns Goodwin, a Pulitzer Prize winner, said the writer of the vampire movie did a great job of researching to create a solid context for the atypical presentation of the president. She also has taken barbs for not having that aspect in her book.
"I've been teased, people will come to me and say, 'How could you have worked on this for 10 years and not found out that he was a vampire hunter in his spare time?' I think anything, if it sparks an interest in a young person about Lincoln, I think it is all to the good. I really do," she said.
"That's why I think that documentaries or mini-series or movies -- even though some people might say they may not be accurate, and obviously he was not a vampire hunter -- but if he interests people and they want to read more about him and know more about him, then that is a good thing."