Secret History

Producers Brian Falk and Greg Shapiro Unveil The Conspirator

There’s a lot you probably don’t know about the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. That there were coordinated attacks on the Vice President and Secretary of State. That the plot was originally to kidnap the President, not kill him. That Lincoln wasn’t supposed to go to the theater that night.

You’ve probably never heard the story of Mary Surratt, the only woman put on trial for the assassination and the central character of the new movie, The Conspirator, opening April 15. For the producers of the film, however, these details just skim the surface of an amazing and surprisingly little-known true story.

“I’m pretty much untouchable on the assassination of Abraham Lincoln at the moment,” laughs Brian Falk, the PGA member who produced The Conspirator alongside fellow member Greg Shapiro, producers Bill Holderman and Robert Stone, and the film’s director, Robert Redford.

Falk drops Lincoln facts as casually as the most well-versed historian, like when asked about the secret service at an early screening: “I said, ‘Well, you may not realize that Abraham Lincoln, on Apri 14, 1865, the day he was shot, signed into law a piece of legislation that created the Secret Service…” There’s more to the answer, but Falk stops himself. The point is made.

This profile article on producers Brian Falk and Greg Shapiro was written for Produced By, the official magazine of the Producers Guild of America, ahead of the opening of The Conspirator, a film exploring the true story behind the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, directed by Robert Redford and staring Robin Wright, Kevin Kline, James McAvoy, Tom Wilkinson and others.