The general consensus among historians, among the ones who can handle the fact that 'Lincoln' is, in fact, historical fiction, is that we demonstrate enormous fidelity to history and that, beyond that, we've actually contributed a line of thinking about Lincoln's presidency that's somewhat original.
If you know that life is basically going to be horrendously difficult, at best, and all but unlivable at worst, or possibly even unlivable, do you go on? And the choice to go on is the only thing that I think can be called hope. Because if hope isn't forced to encounter the worst possibility, then it's a lie.
Making movies is a very different experience in a lot of ways. It's difficult when you're used to owning the copyright and having a landlord's possessory rights - I rent my plays to the companies that do them and, if I'm upset, I can pull the play. But the only two directors I've worked with are pretty great.
I'm happy that I feel a little less out of place in filmmaking than I once was - but it's almost impossible for a playwright in the U.S. to make a living. You can have a play, like I did with 'Angels,' and it still generates income for me, but it's not enough for me to live on and have health insurance.
Accuracy is paramount in every detail of a work of history. Here's my rule: Ask yourself, 'Did this thing happen?' If the answer is yes, then it's historical. Then ask, 'Did this thing happen precisely this way?' If the answer is yes, then it's history if the answer is no, not precisely this way, then it's historical drama.