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!

Hollywood reacts to ‘Begin Again’ director’s candid criticism of Keira Knightley’s acting skills

Should the trust between actors and directors ever be broken?

10:33 am EDT, May 30, 2016

After Begin Again director John Carney’s candid comments about Keira Knightley’s acting went viral, Hollywood has taken to Twitter to defend the British actress.

In case you’ve somehow not heard the story, here’s the sitch:

Over the weekend, The Independent released an interview with Irish director John Carney, in which he had some harsh words for former colleague Keira Knightley.

The pair worked together on the 2013 musical rom-com Begin Again, where Knightley starred opposite Mark Ruffalo as a promising young folk singer recovering from a broken heart.

Carney evidently wasn’t satisfied with Knightley’s performance, claiming she “always has an entourage that follow her everywhere so it’s very hard to get any real work done.”

Related: Exclusive: Keira Knightley, Joe Wright talk Anna Karenina and the choice to set it in the world of theater

Going on to praise both Ruffalo and Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine’s performances, Carney said, “I think that that’s what you need as an actor; you need to not be afraid to find out who you really are when the camera’s rolling. Keira’s thing is to hide who you are and I don’t think you can be an actor and do that.”

“I like to work with curious, proper film actors as opposed to movie stars,” he continued. “I don’t want to rubbish Keira, but you know it’s hard being a film actor and it requires a certain level of honesty and self-analysis that I don’t think she’s ready for yet and I certainly don’t think she was ready for on that film.”

Carney concluded, “I learned that I’ll never make a film with supermodels again.”

Now, Carney clearly had a frustrating experience working with Knightley on this film, and his distinction between ‘proper film actors’ and ‘movie stars’ may be legitimate in theory. Begin Again certainly wasn’t the great critical hit that Carney’s Once had been, and at the time of the movie’s release, Keira Knightley herself admitted that she struggled with the material, not being a singer-songwriter herself and having no great appreciation for music.

“It’s terrible. I know nothing about music whatsoever,” she told The Guardian. “I was always more into reading and drama. I was such a geek. … There’s often a huge link between music and memory. And I’ve got such a bad memory.”

But the issue Hollywood professionals have with Carney’s comments seem to have less to do with Knightley’s specific performance, and more about the fact that Carney made these comments at all.

Ava DuVernay certainly makes a great point about why Carney should have stayed silent:

Both industry professionals and notable journalists have joined DuVernay in speaking out against Carney. Here are some of their reactions:

All the same, there are some that find Carney’s candidness refreshing.

What do you think? Should John Carney have held back his criticism of Keira Knightley out of professional courtesy? Or was he right to share his negative experience?

John Carney rose to international fame with Once in 2007, and this year he’s coming out with a musical drama titled Sing Street.

Spectre director Sam Mendes is officially not returning for more James Bond movies.

While we wait for (almost certain) confirmation that Daniel Craig won’t reprise his role as 007 in the next James Bond film, we can at least contend with the knowledge that Sam Mendes will not direct Bond 25.

The two-time James Bond director came on board the franchise for the wildly successful Skyfall, but his follow-up Spectre was not considered as great of a success.

Even before Spectre‘s release, Mendes was talking about quitting the all-consuming franchise, saying at the time, “I don’t think I could go down that road again. You do have to put everything else on hold.” But it was only during a Welsh literature festival that he finally confirmed his departure.

Related: Quantico’s Priyanka Chopra doesn’t want to be a Bond Girl, she wants to be Bond

“It was an incredible adventure. I loved every second of it, but I think it’s time for somebody else [to direct],” said Mendes, as quoted via The Sydney Morning Herald. “I’m a storyteller. And at the end of the day, I want to make stories with new characters.”

Bond 25 is likely to be completely new chapter of the franchise, with Daniel Craig set to follow Mendes’ lead and officially announce his departure soon. Everyone’s been expecting him to bow out ever since his controversial promotional campaign for Spectre, and it’s even more likely now that his two-time collaborator has called it quits.

On the speculation about who might replace Craig, Mendes says, “I can guarantee that whatever happens next it will not be what you expect.”

“[Bond producer] Barbara Broccoli chooses who is going to be the next Bond, end of story. And without that there would have been no Daniel Craig because public support for Daniel was zero. It was her saying: ‘That man over there, he’s going to change the whole tenor, I’m going to cast him.’ That turned the whole thing on its head,” says Mendes.

Rumor has it that Tom Hiddleston is in talks to be the next James Bond, but until we learn more, we can speculate away as we wish! It’s also time to start making those Bond 25 director wishlists. Anyone know if Ava DuVernay is available?

How will ‘The Flash’ finale affect the ‘Arrow’-verse?

Or will it at all?

11:00 am EDT, May 29, 2016

In the final moments of the Flash‘s season 2 finale, Barry made a decision that could have major ramifications for the other Arrow-verse shows.

It looks like The Flash is headed in the direction of Flashpoint, a comic book story in which Barry saves his mother and creates an alternate future in which he never became The Flash, and the world is in chaos. I’ll do a more in-depth look at this story later in the hiatus.

On The Flash, the death of Barry’s father sent him on a downward spiral that resulted in him going back in time and stopping The Reverse Flash from killing Nora Allen. Barry watched as his season 1 counterpart faded away as the timeline changed before assuring his mother that she was safe.

It’s early, but I’ll take a shot at theorizing what this change could mean not only for The Flash but the other Arrow-verse shows as well.

The Flash season 2, episode 18 recap Barry, Caitlin, Cisco

‘The Flash’

All we know about The Flash‘s third season so far is that Tom Cavanagh will be back as a series regular, indicating there will be some version of Harrison Wells in play. I believe that is likely to be the Earth-1 version of Wells, the one who Eobard Thawne murdered and whose identity Thawne stole, since the original timeline of those events has been changed.

There is also a good chance that when Barry returns to the alternate future he’s created, he’ll no longer have his speed since there would have been no impetus for Barry to become a CSI. Without being at his lab at CCPD, he wouldn’t have been thrown into a rack of chemicals when he was struck by lightning, thus granting him powers.

It’s also likely Barry also won’t be as close with the West family, since he wouldn’t have been taken in and raised by them, which will be heartbreaking.

We also know that the original Harrison Wells’ particle accelerator wasn’t meant to go active until several years after the one Eobard Thawne-as-Wells created; he wanted to expedite the process so he could return to his own time. If that timeline remains the same, there won’t be nearly as many metahumans on the the loose since the particle accelerator created the majority of those we’ve met.

Flash and Arrow crossover

‘Arrow’

Stephen Amell doesn’t know whether the Flash finale will affect Arrow, though it will be odd if it doesn’t since time across Earth-1 has been changed. “I do know that we’ve done a lot of work on Arrow to introduce the other shows, for lack of a better term, and now that that’s all done, we’re focused on doing the things that we do well for season 5,” he tells ComicBook.com.

He adds, “Arrow is at its best when we’re dealing with problems in Star City. We’re not a time-travel show, we’re not a multi-Earth show, though obviously [we do that] with crossovers and stuff like that. We’re Arrow, we deal with Star City, and I feel like we’ll be better off focusing on that.”

Considering Barry was directly responsible for the Team Arrow’s survival in Nanda Parbat at the end of season 3 as well as when Vandal Savage attacked in the season 4 crossover, though, it seems impossible that such a major change in time wouldn’t affect the group in some way, especially if there is no longer a Flash.

One change I wouldn’t mind seeing would be Laurel’s survival, but I won’t hold my breath.

Legends of Tomorrow season 1, episode 1 recap team

‘Legends of Tomorrow’

One reveal from the Flash finale that seems especially likely to impact Legends in some way is the appearance of Jay Garrick, Henry Allen’s Earth-3 doppelganger. In the comics, Jay Garrick is one of the founding members of the Justice Society of America, which the Legends finale introduced via Rex Tyler.

John Wesley Shipp has teased that the writers are excited to explore more of the Jay Garrick character, and he speculates that will include the JSA. It will be interesting to see if he crosses over to that show at any point.

As for the time travel change, if the team does take on the role of the Time Masters, as they’d considered doing before Rex Tyler’s arrival, that seems like a major event for them to take notice of.

It’s also worth noting in the comics during Flashpoint that Leonard Snart is a hero in Central City known as Citizen Cold — I’d love to see Wentworth Miller (who will recur on both Flash and Legends next season) play that part for a bit.

Supergirl season 1, episode 18 airs tonight Kara, Barry

Bonus: ‘Supergirl’

Some are theorizing that this change may, somehow, merge Kara’s world with the Arrow-verse now that Supergirl is on the same network with the other shows. I’m not quite sure how that would work, but I wouldn’t be opposed to it since Kara and Barry are an absolute delight together — and we know a major four-series crossover is in the works.

All that being said, there is also the possibility that the Flashpoint events will remain on The Flash, such as in an alternate universe, because of the concern that too many viewers of Arrow in particular don’t also watch The Flash and don’t want to have to catch up just to understand the show. This is a complexity of having a shared universe.

While I understand that concern, however, I feel like storytelling concerns should take precedent. And if you’re going to create that shared universe, you need to embrace what comes with that, including shows having direct affects on one another.

How do you think the ‘Flash’ finale will affect the ‘Arrow’-verse?