Spielberg has been developing the picture about the 16th U.S. president for years.
He told the Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel he wants to make the movie in Richmond because "a lot of the buildings there, government buildings, look like Washington looked back during the Civil War."
Spielberg said his big-screen adaptation of Doris Kearns Goodwin's book, "Team of Rivals," is "not a battlefield movie." Instead, it will focus on the last four months of Abraham Lincoln's life.
"There are battles in it, and being in Virginia, we have access to those historic battlefields. It is really a movie about the great work Abraham Lincoln did in the last months of his life," the director told the Sentinel. "The movie will be purposely coming out after next year's election. I didn't want it to become political fodder."