Oscar-winning actress Sally Field had to beg Steven Spielberg for the chance to audition for the role of the First Lady in new film Lincoln.

The Steel Magnolias star was so desperate to play U.S. President Abraham Lincoln's wife Mary Todd in the drama, she pestered Spielberg for the chance to screen test alongside Daniel Day-Lewis, who takes on the title role.

The Jaws filmmaker had insisted she was too old to play the part, but Field was adamant she was just the person for the job.

She says, "I'm 10 years older than Daniel and 20 years older than Abraham Lincoln's wife was and Steven told me he didn't see me in the role.

"But I knew I was right for this part and begged him to let me audition for it. He was kind enough to do that and Daniel is such a sweetheart that he flew over from his home in Ireland to screen test with me. I'll love him forever for that."

Field has already been tipped for awards season success after her turn as Todd won rave reviews in preview screenings.