Sally Field Says She Had to Fight for 'Lincoln' Role

Oscar-winning actress had to convince Steven Spielberg, Daniel Day-Lewis she was right for part.
3:00 | 11/13/12

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Transcript for Sally Field Says She Had to Fight for 'Lincoln' Role
Sally field has won two oscars. And her portrayal of abraham lincoln's wife, mary todd, may earn her a third. Watch her in this scene from "lincoln," where she stalls peace negotiations until congress ends slavery. You think I'm ignorant of what you're up to. When have I ever been so easily bamboozled. I insist you amend the constitution and abolish this slavery. And war to you if you pick to pass the amendment. What a pow perfore. Here's the thing that got me. Sally field, two-time oscar winner. Big star. One of the best actresses in the world. And you really had to fight hard to get this role. Yeah. That's the way it needed to be. It -- you know, fate sometimes just steps in. It needed to be that way for all three of us. For steven, for daniel, for me. To actually become mary, I had to demand that they don't walk away. That it was me. And to the generosity, first of all, of steven, who allowed me to test the first time. And then, I tested a second time because of the generosity of daniel, who is an amazing man. They both are amazing. And daniel flew in from ireland to los angeles for the day, to test. You all went in full costume. Yeah. We were the whole thing. And met as mr. Lincoln and as molly. And spent an hour of some long, weird improv. But it was the first -- it was the beginning of he and i beginning -- starting that relationship, that you see on the screen. And had I not done that we wouldn't have found mary. And you actually stayed in character throughout the shooting. Sure. But you always do that. This was done so beautifully because steven, with the help of daniel, made this miraculous stage for the actors to do their work. The crew wasn't yelling and do as they usually do when they have to do their work. They weren't saying, hey, about that red sox game? They disappeared. I never saw them. He would send you e-mails, daniel day-lewis, as abraham lincoln on your off days. That's not quite true. He was in ireland. I was in los angeles. He doesn't have e-mail. He doesn't do that. So, we had no way to really begin knowing each other. We couldn't say, I'll meet you for a cup of coffee. But he does have a cell phone. He couldn't call me. It would be night and morning and stuff. He would text me periodically. And it was lovely. It was playful. And it was a way to -- we had no time to rehearse this film, none. It was shot on a very tight budget, believe it or not, with very few days. And we had to launch in the midst of this very tumultuous relationship. So, it was a magnificent thing he did. And your portrayal of mary todd is really a revelation. You show her passion. Could have a little instability. But also, her fierce intelligence. And we often think of her as a burden to abraham lincoln. You show how much he needed her. He absolutely -- they were totally bonded. Had there not been a mary todd, there would not have been an abraham lincoln. She was his closest confidant and adviser. When they got to the white house, she was kicked out because the cabinet took over. And it infuriated her. But he relied on the fact that she was the emotional one of the twosome. She felt everything he never allowed himself to feel. That was her role in it. There were two sides to this coin that came together and became abraham lincoln. An amazing story and amazing performance.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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