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Team of Rivals: The Movie -- Coming by Christmas?

Speaking last night at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government, Tony "Angels In America" Kushner let slip that he expects to hear, within the week, whether funding will be approved for Lincoln, the long-awaited Steve Spielberg-helmed Abe biopic that Kushner has been writing the screenplay for. The source material is historian Doris Kearns Goodwin's awe-gasmic Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, which Spielberg holds the option on. Kushner said that if funding for Lincoln is approved this week, the movie would be in theaters by Christmas. 

Team of Rivals has of course gained new momentum ever since the Obama camp began touting it as their field manual for cabinet building.Obama's admitted Lincoln fetish aside, there are some uncanny echoes that would likely play well with 2009 audiences. Stop us if you've heard this one: small-time Illinois lawyer-turned-congressman unseats his party's most prominent national figurehead for party's presidential nomination. Said figurehead, who just happens to be the Senator from New York, then dawdles over whether to accept the post of Secretary of State. You probably know how the rest of the story goes. 

Kushner was in speaking as part of a public meeting of the high-powered Lincoln-scholar brain trust, assembled to celebrate the premiere (tonight, on PBS) of Harvard Prof. Henry Louis Gates Jr.'s myth-busting documentary "Looking For Lincoln," which airs tonight at 9 pm on WGBH (or those of you with a couple hours to kill at work can watch it online right now). We'll have the full panel discussion -- which also featured Gates, the New Yorker's Adam Gopnik, Harvard president Drew Faust, and others -- available on the Phlog tomorrow in the ever-popular mp3 podcasting format. 

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