AP Political Writer
RICHMOND, Va. - The Capitol of Virginia, onetime seat of the Confederacy, is being converted for a few weeks more in keeping with how it looked at the close of the Civil War _ for filming scenes from Steve Spielberg's major production, "Lincoln."
Spielberg and members of his production company were guests Monday night of Gov. Bob McDonnell at Virginia's Executive Mansion, just a few hundred feet from the state Capitol.
On the grounds of the 200-year-old seat of Virginia government, the grass is going without mowing in spots for some weeks to give it a more natural appearance at the request of the filmmakers. Lincoln visited Richmond after the fall of the Confederacy and shortly before his assassination.
Rita McClenny, head of the Virginia Film Office, said Spielberg's moviemakers will be filming on Capitol Square, in Richmond and nearby locations including Petersburg starting this fall and running through December. The film stars Daniel Day-Lewis in the title role and Sally Field as Mary Todd Lincoln.
Richmond's urban area and the Capitol complex in particular have served as the set for movies many times before. The Capitol's South Lawn and the South Portico, which were initially designed by Thomas Jefferson, doubled as the White House exterior in "Dave." The interior doubled as the interior of the U.S. Capitol for the film "The Contender."
It also was a stand-in for official Washington in the films "G.I. Jane," "First Kid" and "The Jackal." Its building interiors also served as the gloomy environs for "Hannibal." And the region assumed an 18th century look for HBO's miniseries "John Adams."
Spielberg's credits, among many others, include "Jaws," "Raiders of the Lost Ark," "Schindler's List," and "Saving Private Ryan."
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