The actor joins Daniel Day-Lewis on the project, which DreamWorks has set for an autumn start in Virginia in time for a fourth quarter 2012 awards season release through Disney’s Touchstone division.
Strathairn will portray William Seward, Abraham Lincoln’s loyal Secretary Of State and an outspoken abolitionist.
Spielberg is producing with Kathleen Kennedy and Tony Kushner adapted the screenplay from Doris Kearns Goodwin’s book Team Of Rivals.
As previously announced, Day-Lewis will play the 16th President of the United States and Sally Field is cast as Mary Todd Lincoln.
“Throughout his career, David Strathairn has consistently delivered performances of strength and character,” Spielberg said in a statement. “That’s why I am so pleased that he will portray the Secretary Of State, who became such a dominant figure in Lincoln’s ‘team of rivals’ cabinet.”