'Everybody Has Their Own Personal Lincoln': Manhunt's Hamish Linklater Talks His Take On Abraham Lincoln For Apple TV+ Series

Hamish Linklater as Abraham Lincoln in Manhunt on Apple TV+
(Image credit: Apple TV+)

Apple TV+'s Manhunt will arrive in the 2024 TV schedule for a fresh telling of a story that many already know... or think they know, anyway! The new show covers the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the following hunt for the man who killed him. Hamish Linklater plays the President of the United States for the series, and he spoke with CinemaBlend about finding his own take on portraying the real-life legend.

Based on the nonfiction book called Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer by James L. Swanson, the television adaptation premieres on March 15 for Apple TV+ subscribers. Hamish Linklater is known for his stellar work as part of Netflix's Midnight Mass cast, but playing one of the most famous Presidents in U.S. history is a new kind of role for him. I spoke with the actor at SCAD TVfest in Atlanta, and he shared his approach to playing Abraham Lincoln:

For me, everybody has their own personal Lincoln, and they have plenty of absolutely spectacular versions of him to look at on film. I just tried to find what was personal that made sense to me, I guess. Just breathe in the beard.

There certainly have been a number of portrayals of the 16th President of the United States on the big screen over the years, ranging from Daniel Day-Lewis' Oscar-winning performance in 2012's biopic Lincoln to Bill Oberst Jr.'s take in Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies, which also released in 2012. While the wait for Manhunt isn't over until mid-March, it is safe to say at this point that the new series is going to be about as different from Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies as possible!

The bare bones of Lincoln's assassination are common knowledge: the President of the United States was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth, who was later apprehended. What is less well known is the full story of what happened between the tragedy and Booth's downfall, and Manhunt will provide a unique take on that time period. Hamish Linklater went on to share how he views the historical figure that he brought to life for Manhunt, saying:

I think he's such a personal hero for so many people in a very specific way. I mean, it's monumental, his heroism at that time. We'll never see his like again. Hopefully, no one will ever have to fill shoes that big.

Manhunt has amassed a strong cast of actors to bring a slew of historical figures to life, including Anthony Boyle as John Wilkes Booth, Emmy-winning period drama veteran Tobias Menzies as Edwin Standon, Lovie Simone as Mary Simms, Matt Walsh as Samuel Mudd, Brandon Flynn as Edwin Stanton Jr, and more as well as Hamish Linklater. Monica Beletsky of Fargo and Friday Night Lights is on board as creator, showrunner, and executive producer.

For an early look at what to expect from the series in which the assassination of Abraham Lincoln is only the beginning, check out the trailer below:

You can find Manhunt streaming on Apple TV+ starting on Friday, March 15 with the first two episodes. The rest of the episodes will release weekly until the limited series finale on April 19. Apple TV+ embraces a weekly release more than certain other streamers, and the Lessons in Chemistry show explained why that can be ideal.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).