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."