Lincoln museum good source for movie material

Published 11/12 2012 10:25PM

Updated 11/13 2012 12:10PM

SPRINGFIELD -- By now, you've probably seen the previews and know Illinois' native son is heading back to the big screen. The movie, Lincoln, opens around the country next weekend. While the film includes same dramatic license, experts say it's pretty historically accurate.  The producers were able to do it by taking a trip to our backyard. WCIA-3's Steve Staeger has more.

If anyone has a question about Abraham Lincoln, this is the place to go. The people here study everything Abraham from wardrobe to the sounds of his White House. The sound of that bell will next be heard in Dolby digital surround sound.

"It's used in the movie to call congressmen to dinner when they're at the White House for a big event."

It's one of three sounds a famous Hollywood sound engineer recorded at the museum. It's all for the new movie, Lincoln.

You may remember some of his work from other films. When he called museum curator, James Cornelius, asking how Lincoln's time sounded, Cornelius was happy to help.

"I said, 'well, you know we have three original sounds from his time,' and Ben Burt said, 'Oh my god! I didn't even think of that,' because usually in these space movies, in the future, he's inventing every sound you hear."

That's not the only way the museum has pitched in. The costume designer paid a visit as well.

"I spent about a half a day with him going over the pictures of Lincoln discussing where he wore his eyeglasses chain, and did it go up to the coat pocket or the upper jacket pocket."

The movie's star, Daniel Day Lewis, even dropped by to study his character. Cornelius says the Lincoln Experts here don't mind the attention. In fact, they're used to it.

"We get questions all the time. Cat Fancy Magazine wants to know about the cats in the White House in Lincoln's day and everything in between."

Cornelius says he's only seen the previews and did notice at least one thing which wasn't quite historically accurate. But, surprisingly, he says he doesn't mind. He's just happy to see everyone buzzing about his favorite president.

The movie opened in eleven theaters and already grossed nearly $1 million. It made the most money per theater of any movie opening this weekend.

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