12/11/2012 08:56 GMT | Updated 12/01/2013 05:12 GMT

Daniel Day-Lewis Praises The Man Who NEARLY Played Lincoln, His Friend Liam Neeson

Liam Neeson would have been a "wonderful" Lincoln, Daniel Day-Lewis has said.

The 'Taken' star had been in talks with director Steven Spielberg about playing former US President Abraham Lincoln in historical drama 'Lincoln', but decided to pass on the job due to work clashes, so Oscar-winning actor Daniel stepped in instead.

"I can say, unequivocally, that I know for a fact that Liam's Lincoln would have been something that I would have wished to see," Day-Lewis told Collider.com.

"These things are haphazard. It worked out this way, but it could easily have worked out the other way, and I think Liam would have been quite wonderful."

'LINCOLN' REVIEW: 'Spielberg And HIs Larger-Than-Life Themes'

Day-Lewis, who admitted that he had doubts about taking the role, revealed that Liam had encouraged him to take it.

"From the moment that Liam decided it was no longer something that he would be engaged with, he had been in touch with me about it and had given me incredible encouragement, in the most generous way. He encouraged me when I was undecided about whether or not I should do it," he recalled.

The 55-year-old, who has won Oscars for his performances in 'My Left Foot' and 'There Will Be Blood', joked he finally decided to say yes to Spielberg, because he ran out of excuses.

"I don't think I ever did know that it was the right choice, but I ran out of excuses, at a certain point," he said.

"It seemed inconceivable to me that I could be the person to help him do this thing that he wished to do. Least of all, did I want to be responsible for irrevocably staining the reputation of the greatest President this country's ever known?"

'Lincoln' is in UK cinemas from 24 January 2013. Watch the trailer below...