What was it like working with Kevin Kline and Evan Rachel Wood?

I’ve liked Kevin for a long time. I just think he’s a consummate actor.  To see an actor like Kevin get so into it… He starts from the outside and works in.  He was very concerned about his hair and his glasses and all those details. That’s where it starts. And then he works from there to get inside, to get down to the emotional core of a character. That’s a joy, to work with, and get to see, that kind of commitment.

Evan is really interesting, really talented. I liked her work in Across the Universe and she came in and took to her role immediately.  You would give her one small thing and instantly she’s there, she’s got it.  She was just a joy to direct.

Robert Redford

About Robert Redford

Director Robert Redford offers his insight into the talent, themes, and making of The Conspirator, now in theaters (April 15).
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9 Responses to What was it like working with Kevin Kline and Evan Rachel Wood?

  1. Linda Netzel says:

    I can’t wait to see this movie. It’s been to long since Mr. Redford’s last project. The casting is fantastic and the look of the movie is great. I love this period in history.

  2. vicky davis says:

    According to my grandmother, Stanton was one of our ancestors….guess it’s time I really looked into this!

    • Tracy Stanton Penn says:


      I just found out about this film. My name is Tracy Stanton Penn. All the men in my family carry the Stanton middle name as we are the direct decedents of Secretary of State, Edwin McMasters Stanton, portrayed by Kevin Kline in the movie. I am looking forward to viewing this film not only for the significant part my great, great, etc…..grandfather played in this part of history, but also because it is a part of a great history lesson that has never really been told. I reserve judgment as I have yet to see how Stanton is portrayed other than a few clips I have seen. What I have seen seems pretty accurate from what I know. He was a brazen old bastard, said to be the only one who would stand up to Lincoln, a trait that made Lincoln take a quick like and respect for. He was a patriot, but had many enemies for various reasons from politics to his brash personality.

      Stanton has also been accused in several books as a possible co-conspirator in the assassination of Lincoln. I do not know if that is covered on the movie. I’d like to know if there may be any chance to preview the movie in the area, or any additional information you could provide. By the way, we are also direct descendents of William Penn, you will find my father and his brother in the family registry in Philadelphia. My father is a WWII Marine Veteran, 84 years old, who served in the South Pacific. He has always been proud of our family’s history, enough to keep the Stanton name in all his sons. A vintage framed history of Stanton hangs in his home.

      I don’t know how any of this might tie in, but I know Dad will be happy when he hears about the movie. An old Marine, at 84, still sharp as a whip, goes to work every day. He also is no stranger to politics as he served 12 years in the NJ State Legislature during the Tom Kean, Christie Whitman era. Politics is in the family I guess.

      Not sure what might be available, or really what I am asking for. But I figured I’d shoot out this email as I just found out about this film.

      We look forward to seeing the film and hopefully a response from someone. It would be a great thrill for my Dad.

      Thank you, On Behalf of,

      Tracy Stanton Penn
      John Stanton Penn Sr.
      Richard Stanton Penn, RIP
      John Stanton Penn Jr. RIP
      Tyler William Stanton Penn
      Craig Stanton Penn

      • Laurie Verge says:

        Ms. Penn,

        I have also posted to your other comments on historical accuracy. I am the director of the Surratt House Museum in Clinton, Maryland, which is devoted to sharing the history and researching the history of all aspects of the Lincoln assassination, not just the Surratt story.

        As you will see in my other comment, I have great respect for your ancestor – despite the beatings that some historians have tried to give him over the years. He did what he thought was right in order to preserve the Union – and be damned what people thought of him.

        I have seen a pre-screening of the movie because we assisted both the playwright and the producers with historical research. I will also be attending the gala premiere tomorrow at Ford’s Theatre. I was very impressed with their efforts and the final results. I was most pleased in that it is dramatic, colorful, and entertaining for the average person. My motto as a museum director and as a former history teacher is, “To understand history, one must enjoy history.” The Conspirator tells a great story in a fascinating manner.

        I did have one objection to the portrayal of Sec. Stanton. Kevin Kline was allowed to have a neatly trimmed, short beard for the role. Everyone who has ever seen a photo of the real Stanton remembers that long, wispy beard. IMO, Kevin need hair extensions!

        I do have a very limited amount of mini-posters advertising the film and will share one with you for your father if desired. My work e-mail is:

        • Timothy McGivern says:

          Ms. Verge: Kevin’s beard drove me to distraction too! One correction to Mr. (Ms?) Penn’s letter: His (her?) ancestor was Secretary of War, not State. William Seward was the Secretary of State who was, as depicted in the film, also the victim (but survivor) of the assassination conspiracy that same night. Penn’s ancestor WAS later appointed to the Supreme Court by President U.S. Grant, and was confirmed by the Senate, but Stanton died before he could be sworn in. By any standard, he was an imposing historical figure.

  3. Chase Anderson/Savannah Cultural Heritage Tours says:

    Just returned from the cast and crew screening here in Savannah. The movie is visually exquisite –the acting is impeccable and the directing is vintage Redford — best work he’s done in years And teaming up with The American Film Company was a bold move that has paid off with a high level of authenticity, close attention to historic detail and aesthetic integrity.

    Savannah’s famous historic district really shines too. Washington D.C never looked better!!!

  4. Donna Cline says:

    This is my desire time in life. Love civil war facts. I can’t wait to see the movie.I know it will be great.

  5. Rick Chalek says:

    This seems to be a must-see for Civil War nuts like me. Can’t wait. Love the work of Kevin Kline, Tom Wilkinson, Evan Rachel Wood, and most of what I’ve seen of Robin Penn- Wright. Redford’s past directorial efforts have all been quite good, so this promises to be just the ticket. I’ve been craving a new Civil War era epic, since the last great production I saw was the 1993 film, “Gettysburg,” based on the novel, “Killer Angels,” by the late Michael Shaara. Apart from that, only Ken Burns’s Civil War multi-part series on PBS has been inspiring and interesting. As a subject, there has been a dearth of quality vehicles about the Civil War and its environs, so this film is a particularly welcome effort. In my opinion, it would take many more dramatic productions to adequately tell the story of the most pivotal era in our nation’s history. The late historian and author, Shelby Foote, accurately described the Civil War as the single event that defined us as a nation. Prior to 1865, we were referred to in the plural–those United States. But following the surrender of Lee’s forces at Appomattox Court House, we were hence known in the singular, The United States of America. Come on, Hollywood–give us more.

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