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The Spielberg address: Lincoln film won’t be ‘political football’

Steven Spielberg directed “Lincoln” starring Daniel Day-Lewis (right) as GreEmancipator. The movie comes out Nov. 9.

Steven Spielberg directed “Lincoln,” starring Daniel Day-Lewis (right) as the Great Emancipator. The movie comes out Nov. 9.

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Updated: November 11, 2012 6:17AM

Knowing timing is everything, Oscar winner Steven Spielberg made sure his new “Lincoln” movie — starring Daniel Day-Lewis as our 16th president — did not get wide release before this year’s presidential election.

After debuting “Lincoln” at the New York Film Festival this week, Spielberg said he didn’t want his film to become a “political football” in this highly charged election year.

Spielberg, who has long supported President Barack Obama, pointed out in a post-screening Q&A that the U.S. political parties have largely “reversed positions” in the past 150 years. Back in Lincoln’s day — as showcased in the film — the Republicans were the progressives, leading the charge for the abolition of slavery, while the Democrats were the conservative party, strongly anchored in the slave-owning South.

† “Lincoln” will be released Nov. 9 in Chicago, in time for Oscar consideration, and there’s already big buzz that the film will snare a slew of nominations for both the filmmakers and Day-Lewis.

TWITTER TIFF: Actress Stacey Dash knew she would get some pushback from Twitter message strongly supporting Mitt Romney for president. But the actress, best known for her “Clueless” role, reportedly has been floored by the huge backlash and truly ugly — even threatening — tweets others have posted in response.

“Stacey is very upset about all this — particularly the comments made by people who question that she, as a black woman, could possibly consider endorsing a white man against President Obama. … That is such a racist, ignorant thing,” said a close Dash associate.

Dash herself defended her position, with a follow-up tweet: “My humble opinion. EVERYONE is entitled to one.”

The actress also received support from a somewhat unexpected source. Women’s rights activist Sandra Fluke, who spoke at the Democratic National Convention, took to Twitter to say, “So disappointed to see people attacking ­@REALStaceyDash for voicing her opinion. Disagree politically, but #racist attacks are unacceptable.”

STILL TOGETHER? Though Pamela Anderson was the first star to be eliminated from this season’s all-star “Dancing With the Stars” competition, there’s word she and Tristan MacManus — her pro partner on the show — have become very cozy and now are quietly dating.

SPORTS SHORT: Sun-Times columnist Rick Telander has penned the cover story for the new Sports Illustrated — hitting newsstands this week. The piece, tracing the taking of street basketball all the way to the pros, features a shot of former University of Illinois hoops star Daron Williams standing in front of a graffiti-covered wall. Telander not only focuses on Williams and his current career with the Brooklyn Nets, but also includes interviews with the Bulls’ Jerry Reinsdorf and filmmaker Spike Lee — the lifelong New York Knicks fan now facing the Nets’ move from New Jersey to their new stadium and home, a few short blocks from his Brooklyn offices.

Telander’s tale also will be featured on NBC Saturday.

‘GREY’ GROWLING: A feud has erupted over the announcement of Kelly Marcel as the screenwriter who will adapt E.L. James’ mega-hit novel “Fifty Shades of Grey” for the big screen. “American Psycho” author Bret Easton Ellis — who had vied to land the plum assignment — tweeted, “Kelly Marcel is writing the script for ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’?!? THIS is the movie they want to make?”

In a further slam, he labeled Marcel “the creator of (gulp) ‘Terra Nova’ and a Mary Poppins bio-pic,” noting that she “has been blessed by E.L. James and no one can stop her. Dear God.”

In response, the proposed film’s producer Dana Brunetti — whose credits include “Casino Jack” and the Oscar-winning “The Social Network” — tweeted back, “Really Bret? The day you release that ‘trailer.’ School film?”

Brunetti’s “school film” tweak referred to the teaser trailer for the Ellis-written drama “The Canyons,” starring Lindsay Lohan and porn star James Deen.

OUT OF LINE? Richard Gere probably will be more careful the next time he spots an attractive woman in a restaurant or bar. While the actor’s rep says Gere was merely greeting fans at a neighboring table as he exited a restaurant in the Hamptons over the weekend, the New York Post reported Tuesday that the husband of a woman at that table felt Gere was too overtly flirting with the man’s wife.

Something tells me alcohol may have fueled that husband’s anger directed at Gere, who is known to be happily married to actress Carey Lowell.

DERRY, DERRY DO: The Northern Irish city of Derry or Londonderry — the 2013 City of Culture — will be the focus of the Irish American Heritage Center’s “Irish Books, Art & Music Celebration,” beginning Thursday. Tony and Oscar-winning actor Stephen Rea will be the headliner at the “iBAM!” gala and read from James Joyce’s “Ulysses.” Rea also will be honored at the fete, along with musicians Phil Coulter and the Derry-born Damian McGinty (“Glee”) and award-winning author Colum McCann.

SEEN ON THE SCENE: While it didn’t look like many fans recognized him, that was “Chicago Fire” star Taylor Kinney spied dining at Nellcote the other night. … White Sox pitcher Donnie Veal hung out with his family Saturday at Harry Caray’s Tavern Navy Pier — happily posing with the Harry statue.

TV TALK: Morris Chestnut will be joining “Nurse Jackie” for a seasonlong storyline. On the Showtime comedy starring Edie Falco, Chestnut will play a new trauma doctor who is a former Army medic who served in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

† The star power keeps increasing for “We Will Always Love You: A Grammy Salute to Whitney Houston,” airing as a one-hour special Nov. 16 on WBBM-Channel 2. Yolanda Adams and Cece Winans join the already announced lineup of Celine Dion, Jennifer Hudson and Usher.

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