On April 9, 1865 the Confederate Capital of Richmond, Virginia laid in ruins. The Rebel Army had been decimated, and Confederate General Robert E. Lee finally conceded defeat at Appomattox Court House. Two days later, crowds gathered outside the White House, trampling the flowerbeds and pushing to the front in order to hear their leader address the nation. Expecting words of condemnation for the Southern states, the crowd was shocked to hear President Abraham Lincoln’s message of unification, thanking General Ulysses S. Grant and the Union army, and outlining steps to reconstruct the Union. Four days later, Lincoln would be dead, assassinated by an American citizen, a Rebel by the name of John Wilkes Booth.
In the two-hour non-fiction thriller, Killing Lincoln, Executive Producers Ridley Scott and Tony Scott will recount these days of victory, tragedy, conspiracy, and a nation’s sorrow through the eyes of the men and women who were there. Killing Lincoln will be an epic story of the most notorious crime in American history.
The story preceding and following the death of President Lincoln stretches from the secret meetings of the conspirators and the change in the plan that led from kidnapping to murder; to hanging of the conspirators, including the unprecedented execution of the first woman to ever be hanged by the United States government. Booth was not working alone. His accomplices included a Georgetown-educated pharmacy clerk, a drunk, and a 20-year-old Rebel solider and spy. Fueled by hatred and rage and backed by Confederate sympathizers, Booth and two accomplices listen to Lincoln speak at the White House on April 11th. In Washington DC, there are at least four Confederate groups plotting to kidnap Lincoln, but the end of the war pushes Booth to set in motion a new plan to kill the President.
Most Americans can tell you the story of Lincoln’s assassination. They know Lincoln attended a play at Ford’s Theatre and John Wilkes Booth shot him from behind. In Killing Lincoln, the Emmy-award winning team who brought you Gettysburg presents a fresh approach to the infamous event. In the frenzy and aftermath of the gunshot inside Ford’s Theatre, several audience members’ eyewitness testimony proves that the perception and reality of historical events lead to debates over the facts that have lasted to this day.
Booth’s escape from the theater and the manhunt that ensued would lead hundreds and hundreds of soldiers through the swamps and thick pine forests of Virginia and Maryland in search of Lincoln’s assassin. Booth and conspirator David Herold would finally hide in a tobacco barn in Virginia, where troops would surround them and attempt to flush them out and bring them in alive to face the gallows for their crimes. Booth was shot in the neck, and would die several hours later. In a brief moment of self-realization and humility, Booth would ask to see the tattoo on his hand with his initials “JWB,” just before he died and would proclaim, “useless.” Killing Lincoln sets out to give a raw, realistic and fact-positive approach to a story that has been told countless times.
Killing Lincoln: Coming Soon in 2013