Field plays the wife of our 16th president, who is dealing with turbulent times, a war and a combative, divisive Congress.
"It is very similar to what's going on right now," Field said. "Also, I believe a very imp time in our history, as that was an imp time in our history, where two sides of democracy, two ideological positions, are so entrenched in being right that nothing gets done."
Field wanted her Mary Todd Lincoln to be as authentic as possible, and that meant gaining weight.
"We tried to go with the actual measurements we knew she had, because they have records from when she had clothes made. So we wanted to replicate that as much as we could," Field said.
In today's movie making, actors wear prosthetics. Field gained 25 pounds.
"There were no prosthetics," she said. "Daniel doesn't wear any prosthetics, I didn't have any padding. You can see it in my face, my chin and my arms. There's a scene where I take off a great deal of those clothes and you can sort of see it underneath, this girth - yikes!"
"Lincoln" opens in limited release Friday and moves into more theatres Nov. 16.