Spielberg’s Lincoln chronicles the last months of Abraham Lincoln’s presidency and life, and the film is hitting theaters today! Due to the amount of key political and military figures in the film, it’s a little hard to keep track of who’s who – so we’ve created a character guide to brush up on American history!

THE LINCOLN FAMILY

Abraham Lincoln (Daniel Day-Lewis): 16th President of the United States of America from March 1861 until his death by assassination in April 1865. He was the president throughout the entire Civil War and one of the highest regarded presidents in American history. He is best known for abolishing slavery under the 13th Amendment of the Constitution and for leading the Union/The North to victory in the Civil War.

Mary Todd Lincoln (Sally Field): Lincoln’s wife and the First Lady of the United States from 1861-1865. Mentally unstable and extremely depressed due to the death of two of her children (and after the film takes place, a total of three children), she blames herself for her husband’s unhappiness.

Robert Lincoln (Joseph Gordon-Levitt): Lincoln’s eldest son and his only child to make it to adulthood. Studying to become a lawyer in Boston, he quits school and enlists, against his parents’ wishes, in the Union Army. Later in life, he became the U.S. Secretary of War and U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom.

Edward Lincoln: Lincoln’s second son who died when he was three years old in 1850. His death is said to what sparked the beginning of Mary Todd’s severe depression.

William “Willie” Lincoln: Lincoln’s third son who passed in 1862 from Typhoid Fever. Dying at 11 years of age, his death set Mary Todd Lincoln into an ever deeper depression and severe mental instability.

Thomas “Tad” Lincoln (Gulliver McGrath): Lincoln’s youngest son who frequently interrupted his father’s meetings and ran freely around The White House. He outlived his father, but died in 1871 at the age of 18 from Tuberculosis.

KEY PEOPLE IN LINCOLN’S CABINET

William Seward (David Stratharim): Secretary of State during the Lincoln Administration. A loyal member of the Republican Party, he severely opposed slavery and was a huge supporter of the 13th Amendment. Although not mentioned in Lincoln, Seward was also attacked the night of Lincoln’s assassination, but survived.

Edwin Stanton (Bruce McGill): Secretary of War from 1862 – 1868. He helped to manage the Union Army and lead the North to victory.

Gideon Welles (Grainger Hines): Secretary of the Navy from 1861 – 1869.

Montgomery Blair (Byron Jennings): U.S. Postmaster General from 1861 – 1864, Lincoln accepted Blair’s early resignation  – and makes a snarky comment about his early resignation in the film.

William Dennison, Jr. (James ‘Ike’ Eichling): U.S. Postmaster General from 1864 – 1866, succeeding Blair.

James Speed (Richard Topol): U.S. Attorney General from 1864 – 1866. He became a part of the Radical Republicans and advocated for African-American males the right to vote.

John Palmer Usher (Dakin Matthews): A kind and unobtrusive man, Usher was Secretary of the Interior from 1863 – 1865.

MEMBERS OF CONGRESS

Thaddeus Stevens (Tommy Lee Jones): Representing Pennsylvania’s 9th district from 1859-1868, he was one of Congress’ most influential and outspoken members and lead the Radical Republicans. As demonstrated in Lincoln, he had very heavy influence in the passing of the 13th Amendment.

George Yeaman (Michael Stuhlbarg): A Democrat from Kentucky, Yeaman voted against his party in support of the 13th Amendment.

Wells A. Hutchins (Walton Goggins): A Democrat from Ohio, Hutchins also voted against his party in support of the passing of the 13th Amendment.

Charles Sumner (John Hutton): Changing parties many times, he is best known as a Republican Senator from Massachusetts.  Sumner helped lead the Radical Republicans alongside Thaddeus Stevens and supported anti-slavery.

Fernando Wood (Lee Pace): A Democratic Representative from New York, he was sympathetic to the Confederacy and was in high favor of slavery.

James Mitchell Ashley (David Costabile): An Abolitionist Republican from Ohio. He had a large roll in suporting Union Troops to defeat the South.

OTHER KEY PEOPLE IN SUPPORT OF THE UNION

W.N. Bilbo (James Spader): A political operative who was once imprisoned  but freed by Lincoln. He, along with two partners, lobbied members of Congress to support and pass the 13th Amendment.

Elizabeth Keckley (Gloria Reuben): A former slave who became the personal modiste for Mary Todd Lincoln. As a freed slave who worked for the First Family, she took advantage of her position and became a civil activist to help blacks later in life.

Francis Preston Blair (Hal Holbrook): The father of Montgomery Blair, he was  a supporter and adviser to Lincoln. With Lincoln’s consent, Blair traveled unofficially to Richmond (the Confederacy Capitol) and asked Jefferson Davis to appoint representatives to travel to D.C. to discuss peace negotiations. This resulted in the Hampton Roads Conference (Reference “Civil War Events”).

Ulysses S. Grant (Jared Harris): Commander of the United States Army from 1864 – 1869 and led the Union to victory over the Confederacy. He was an alcoholic and later became President of the United States – and is reputed for not being one of the best men for the job.

Lydia Smith (S. Epatha Merkerson): Congressman Thaddeus Steven’s biracial housekeeper. Stevens never married, and Smith lived with him, romantically, for many years.

John Hay (Joseph Cross): Personal assistant and secretary to Lincoln.

John George Nicolay (Jeremy Strong): Working with John Hay, Nicolay was also a secretary to Lincoln. The two collaborated together on Lincoln’s official biography, published in ten volumes from 1890-1894.

IMPORTANT FIGURES OF THE CONFEDERACY

Alexander Stephens (Jackie Earle Haley): Vice President of the Confederate States of America. He met with Lincoln in February 1865 on a failed attempt to make peace and end the Civil War, but it was a failed attempt mainly due to Stephens’ disagreement with the passing of the 13th Amendment.

R.M.T. Hunter (Mike Shiflett): Secretary of State for the Confederacy from 1861-1862, and then became a Senator from Virginia from 62-65. He attended the Hampton Roads Conference with Stephens and Campbell.

John Archibald Campbell (Gregory Itzin): Assistant Secretary of War for the Confederacy and attended the Hampton Roads Conference with Hunter and Stephens.

Robert E. Lee (Christopher Boyer): General of the Confederate Army, he surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865, ending the Civil War.

Jefferson Davis: President of the Confederate States of America.

TIMELINE OF EVENTS

November 6, 1860: Lincoln is elected as the 16th president of the United States with 180 Electoral votes and 40% of the popular vote. His campaign focused heavily on not spreading slavery into non-slave states.

December 20, 1860 – June 8, 1861: Eleven southern states seceded from the U.S.A. and form the Confederate States of America: South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee and North Carolina.

March 4, 1861: Lincoln is inaugurated as the 16th President of the United States. Seven states have seceded from the Union at this point. Lincoln states he would not accept the secession and hoped to create a peaceful resolution.

April 12-14, 1861: Shots are fired and The Battle of Fort Sumter occurs, thus marking the start of the Civil War. Four more states will secede after the first battle of the War.

June 1861: West Virginia is born, not wanting to secede with the rest of Virginia as a slave state. Four other slave states commit to staying part of the Union, including Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, and Missouri.

February 20, 1862: Lincoln’s third child, Willie, dies at the age of 11.

January 1, 1863: Lincoln issues the Emancipation Proclamation, stating that all slaves in areas of rebellion were free.

July 1-3, 1863: The Battle of Gettysburg occurs, which was the bloodiest and most Northern fought battle of the Civil War. Union troops defeated Lee’s Confederate Army, which ended Lee’s invasion of the North.

November 8, 1864: Lincoln is re-elected as the President of the United States for a second term, winning 212 electoral votes and 55% of the popular vote. This is the first time since 1832 a President has won re-election, and the first time since 1812 there was an election during a war.

January 31, 1865: The 13th Amendment of the United States Constitution is passed, abolishing slavery.

February 3, 1865: Confederate representatives Alexander Stephens, R.M.T. Hunter, John Archibald Campbell, meet Union representatives President Lincoln and Secretary of State Seward to negotiate peace terms aboard the River Queen near Newport News, Virginia. Lincoln refused to consent to a treaty and demanded the C.S.A. to voluntarily abolish slavery, and also to fully restore the Union. The conference was unsuccessful, as the C.S.A. could not agree to Lincoln’s terms, and merely wanted to be recognized as an independent country.

April 1-3, 1865: After 10 months of fighting in the Richmond-Petersburg area, Richmond, the Capitol of the Confederacy, falls to the Union.

April 7-9, 1865: On April 7, Grant’s troops surrounded Lee’s, and within the next two days, Grant called upon Lee to surrender. On April 9, the two generals met at Appomattox Court House in Virginia, which marked the official end of the Civil War.

April 14, 1865: Lincoln is shot while watching a play at Ford’s Theater in Washington, D.C. by John Wilkes Booth. Booth was a well-known stage actor, who was a Marylander and sympathetic towards the Confederacy and a supporter of slavery. Lincoln died the next morning.

Be sure to also check out Hypable’s review of Lincoln before seeing the film!

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child reviews from theater critics are glowing, so when the hell can Americans get a chance to see the play in New York?

With just days to go until The Cursed Child script book is released around the world, The New York Post’s theater reporter has spoken to sources who say the play will be coming to Broadway sooner rather than later. Producers are currently holding discussions to bring the play to NY as early as 2017.

They haven’t yet announced a Broadway engagement for “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” but New York theater people say it’s only a matter of time. Word is that Friedman and Callender are in negotiations for a Shubert theater possibly for next season. They may hit Toronto first, however.

The idea of The Cursed Child hitting Broadway so soon (“next season” could mean around May 2017) will come as a relief to American Harry Potter fans who would rather not travel overseas to see “the eighth story” (though it’s a little more affordable to do so right now thanks to #Brexit). It also speaks to this important fact: It’s important to see The Cursed Child rather than reading it.

If the show does go to Toronto first as The New York Post suggests it might, a trip to Canada would also be easier for Americans. Sorry, people who don’t live in North America.

This writer saw the play in June and absolutely loved the characters and magic happening on stage. But the story is… not the best. I’m very eager to see what fans, myself included, think of the story after reading the script book this weekend.

For her part, Rowling has promised that fans around the world will get to see the play. Only time will tell if she’s hinting at a movie or a world tour:

If ‘Cursed Child’ comes to Broadway next year, will you try to see it ASAP?

The West End production currently has dates running into May 2017, but additional dates are expected to go on sale in early August.

Barnes & Noble has announced that Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is already a gigantic hit. In fact, it’s the most pre-ordered book since Deathly Hallows.

It’s been 9 years since J.K. Rowling publsihed Deathly Hallows in the summer of 2007, but Harry Potter fans are evidently still eager for more stories from the Wizarding World. In a press release on Monday, the biggest book chain in the United States revealed that they haven’t seen pre-orders this huge since the last Harry Potter book.

deathly-hallows-book-cover

“Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is Barnes & Noble’s most pre-ordered book since Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and we expect it to be our biggest selling book of the year,” said Mary Amicucci, Chief Merchandising Officer at Barnes & Noble in a press release. “To guarantee that our customers get the new Harry Potter book as quickly as possible, Barnes & Noble is the only national retailer that’s guaranteeing delivery of the book on August 1, for both online and ship-to-home pre-orders placed by noon ET on Friday, July 29. Our booksellers are also preparing to host big crowds for our signature Midnight Magic parties on July 30.”

If you’ve passed by a brick and mortar Barnes & Noble in the past few months you’ve probably seen the heavy promotion they’ve been doing. Headers that state “HARRY POTTER IS BACK” will clearly entice people to pre-order.


HARRY POTTER IS BACK! (Spotted at a Barnes & Noble) #harrypotterforever #harrypotter

A photo posted by Hypable.com (@hypable) on

In a report from the Wall Street Journal earlier this month we learned that Scholastic was printing 4.5 million copies of “the eighth story” for the United States and Canada. This is a far cry from the 12 million printed for Deathly Hallows, but still a very large print run for a book in modern times. (Also worth noting: Many readers have switched to eBooks in the years since Deathly Hallows.)

It’s nice to see that Harry Potter fans haven’t lost their interest in the series. Perhaps the success will inspire J.K. Rowling to continue writing within Harry’s world?

The book has also been a huge success on Amazon. The Cursed Child has sat at the top of the online retailer’s bestseller list for months.

Hypable will have lots of coverage surrounding The Cursed Child once it’s released this weekend. Stay tuned! AHHHH!

Sherlock finally made it to Hall H at Comic-Con and the creative team brought a few surprises. Steven Moffatt, Sue Vertue, Mark Gatiss, Amanda Abbington, and Benedict Cumberbatch were on hand to the thrill of fans.

Benedict Cumberbatch and crew definitely know how to work a crowd. Here are the top highlights of the panel that played to a crowd of thousands.

1. Season 4

They are currently two weeks from finishing Sherlock season 4. Cumberbatch said that “a lot comes home to roost this season… it’s ballsy.”

They have 26 pages to film this Tuesday. Cumberbatch states that the monologues are very challenging and take a lot of work.

As for actors’ favorite lines this season:

Gatiss: “Sherlock.”

Abington: Not a line but a beckoning gesture.

Cumberbatch: Can’t say.

Key names for next season (change from doing key words):

  • Moffat: Smith
  • Gatiss: Thatcher
  • Vertue: Sherinford

2. Keeping the show fresh

By not making as many episodes, the creators feel they actually keep the quality. They joked that under normal standards they’ve actually made about half a season of a standard TV show, or 13 episodes.

There are no plans for any other Victorian Era shows. Moffat feels that it would be less interesting if the mind palace returned there.

3. Learning curves and drugs

Gatiss stated that with 90-minute episodes you “really have to put [Sherlock and Watson] through the ringer.” Moffat added that because of this, Watson has to evolve. Watson can’t keep being amazed by Sherlock. As for Sherlock, “he can’t be the weird scary amoral man we met in the first episode… geniuses learn… he has to learn.”

Sherlock’s drug addiction comes back when he is not working. It’s hinted that the addiction will be a bigger issue this season than in the past.

4. The coat and the hair

There is apparently a big debate every year over changing the iconic coat. Sue Vertue wants to change it, and Steven Moffat wants to keep it. Benedict Cumberbatch dove into the debate stating, “I’m quite hung up on the coat…. but sometimes it has to come off.” The audience reaction was predictable.

Cumberbatch joked that he loved playing Sherlock in the Victorian era because of the slicked back hair. In the modern era it takes forever for his hair to get done. On a serious note, he loved the more straight-laced, clipped version of Sherlock.

5. First ‘Sherlock’ season 4 trailer

The teaser trailer featured this phrase over and over: “Something’s coming. It may be Moriarity, maybe not.” Literally every character we know and love looks like they are scared, angry, or worried on an epic scale.

One of the best moments is Mrs. Hudson saying with supreme venom to Mycroft, “Get out of my house you reptile.” Watch below:

6. Improv and family

There is actually, according to Cumberbatch, very little improvisation on set. It’s about how to do what’s there, and not messing with the script. He firmly believes that what is there is what is needed for the show.

Cumberbatch genuinely loves having his mom and dad play his TV mom and dad. Every now and then he can see his mother struggle to call him “Sherlock” and not “Ben.”

7. Mary in the know

Abbington didn’t know she was an assassin until well into the last season. When she found out, she told partner Martin Freeman, “My God, [the fans] are going to hate me.” Despite this, she loves the flawed characters of the series.

8. When will the series return?

No date was given for either the BBC release date or the PBS release date. We only know that it will premiere in 2017.

9. The dog photo

According to Cumberbatch the dog (depicted above) was a nightmare. “The dog wouldn’t fucking move,” he said. The companion was supposed to drag Sherlock all over London, but the dog didn’t like people, concrete, crowds… really anything about an urban setting.

Moffat and Gatiss resorted to writing a new scene on the spot to account for the lack of the dog’s interest in roaming. According to Gatiss all it did was drool on the concrete.

10. Future seasons?

Touching on the future of the series, Moffat stated, “Why is everybody assuming they survive season 4?” Gatiss joked, “We’re skipping season 5 and doing season 6.”

Moffat clarified that — contrary to recent reports — he never said that this season would be the last one (He’s right: All he said was the schedules of Cumberbatch and Freeman are only getting more difficult to work with). Gatiss added that they want to do more seasons, and they hope that they are able to.

Sherlock will be back in 2017. What do you think of the first season 4 trailer?