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John Hawkes reveals character details for Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln,” will be playing abolitionist legislator, not John Wilkes Booth

John Hawkes reveals character details for Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln,” will be playing abolitionist legislator, not John Wilkes Booth (photo)

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John Hawkes, who won an Oscar nomination for his roles as a menacing uncle in “Winter’s Bone” and who plays a manipulative cult leader in “Martha Marcy May Marlene,” isn’t looking to build on his body of creepy character work with more villains in the immediate future. Although he’s been offered the part of Charlie Manson, he always turns it down. And while there’s been speculation that he would play John Wilkes Booth in Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln epic about to go into production, Hawkes told IFC that his part is actually very different.

“I’m playing a real-life guy who wasn’t famous,” the actor said. “He’s a lobbyist from Albany, who is called in by the Secretary of State [William Seward, played by David Straitharn] to aid Lincoln’s case.”

This leaves four possible candidates for Hawkes’ character: W.N. Bilbo, Emanuel B. Hart, Robert W. Latham, or George O. Jones, all of who helped steer the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery through Congress in 1865. Of those, only George O. Jones was actually a resident of Albany, however, leaving him seemingly the most likely candidate for Hawkes’ role.”

“It’s a beautiful script,” Hawkes said. “It’ll be interesting to work in that period. A fascinating time in history.”

Hawkes has already wrapped his role in another real-life story for the indie film “The Surrogate,” in which he’s the lead. He plays the late writer Mark O’Brien, a polio survivor who is paralyzed from the neck down. “He spent, by the age of six and through the rest of his life in an iron lung,” Hawkes said. “So it was a challenge to play a character who had no body movement except 90 degrees of his head.”

O’Brien, who was both a poet and a journalist, wrote about his experience seeking out a sexual surrogate for his first sexual contact, and confronting his issues of inadequacy, repression, and masculinity. (Helen Hunt plays the surrogate). “It’s a tiny little movie that attracted some wonderful actors,” Hawkes said, “and hopefully it will be great.”

“Each role is different,” he added. “With the darker material, that can be a disturbing thing in itself, and I guess it sort of takes a piece of you, and gives you back a piece that’s not always pleasant to remember or deal with. But if you feel like you’re part of something larger than yourself, it’s a small price to pay to be part of something great.”

Are you looking forward to seeing what John Hawkes brings to the Abraham Lincoln biopic? Let us know below or on Facebook or Twitter.

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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