Sally Field plays First Lady Mary Todd in “Lincoln,” and says while the issues facing the country may have changed since her character's time, the rhetoric in Washington has not.
“You realize that there was always these two sides, these entrenchments, these idealistic visions of this side and this side, and they battle with each other, and won't compromise so nothing can get done,” Fields told FOX411’s Pop Tarts column. “But in this one moment in time, this magnificent man knew something had to be done, otherwise the dream of the United States would be lost.”
Field, 66, says "Lincoln," directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Daniel Day Lewis, should inspire the audience to appreciate America and how far it has come.
“You look at this beautiful piece in history created by Steven Spielberg. It reminds you of the exquisite potential of what this country always has been," she said. "And you are so proud of it and to be here, and you want to fight for it again."
The Academy Award-winning actress said becoming Lincoln’s wife was particularly consuming.
“Mary still lives with me, so it's hard for me to see just how much she resonates with me. She was such an important, underexamined and misunderstood character in American history," Field said. "If there was no Mary Todd, there was no Abraham Lincoln. They were two sides, they came together to make Abraham Lincoln. She was always his closest confidante, always the one that was toughest on him and he depended on that. When push came to shove, he would listen to his advice. She was highly emotional, and felt things for him that he couldn't do because he had to do what he had to do. She was always in his face, and they hated her for it. They still hate her for it.”
And despite all the time she spent with Lewis, she says the two never connected outside of their characters.
“I always called him Mr. Lincoln and he called me Molly. We had been forming our relationship for months in character," she said. "When I first saw him, it was as Lincoln, I was Mary. Mary called him Mr. Lincoln."
And according to Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who played son Robert Todd Lincoln, watching Lewis in full Presidential mode was nothing short of eerie.
“I never had any problem believing I was talking to Abraham Lincoln. It was a bizarre thing. I grew up in the United States with Lincoln on my pennies and my fives, he is this icon in our psyches, and to have this human being so seamlessly become him was really an incredible feat,” he added. “This movie shows that even back then, on an issue that now seems silly to us, what I love is that Lincoln getting grief from both sides. He was getting grief from Democrats because at that time they were Conservative party, and grief from radical Republicans because they were the progressives and they wanted more rights for black people than what Lincoln was pushing for. Even if he wanted those things, he had to make compromises... We think of Lincoln as an icon and deity, but he wasn't. He was a human being.”
“Lincoln” opens in theaters November 9.
Hollie McKay has been a FoxNews.com staff reporter since 2007. She has reported extensively from the Middle East on the rise and fall of terrorist groups such as ISIS in Iraq. Follow her on twitter at @holliesmckay