Groff plays the role of Louis Weichman in a cast that also boasts James McAvoy, Robin Wright, Alexis Bledel, Badge Dale, Danny Huston, Toby Kebbell, Kevin Kline, Justin Long, Colm Meaney, Stephen Root, Tom Wilkinson and Evan Rachel Wood.
The thriller, which explores the national reaction to Lincoln's assassination, features direction by Academy Award winner Redford and a screenplay by James Solomon.
"In the wake of Abraham Lincoln's assassination," studio notes state, "seven men and one woman are arrested and charged with conspiring to kill the President, Vice President, and Secretary of State. The lone woman charged, Mary Surratt (Robin Wright), 42, owns a boarding house where John Wilkes Booth (Toby Kebbell), 26, and others met and planned the simultaneous attacks. Against the ominous back-drop of post-Civil War Washington, newly-minted lawyer Frederick Aiken (James McAvoy), a 28-year-old Union war-hero, reluctantly agrees to defend Surratt before a military tribunal. Aiken realizes his client may be innocent and that she is being used as bait and hostage in order to capture the only conspirator to have escaped a massive manhunt, her own son, John (Johnny Simmons). As the nation turns against her, Surratt is forced to rely on Aiken to uncover the truth and save her life."
Director Redford states, "The film deals with the harsh efforts to keep the political polarization of the time from worsening. The country was deeply divided, not just North and South, but also between those in government who wanted to place post-war punishments and restrictions on the defeated South that would cause suffering and resentment among the Confederates and those, like Lincoln, who wanted a more moderate, conciliatory reconstruction."
About the guilt or innocence of central character Mary Surratt, screenwriter Solomon says, "There's no question in my mind that Edwin Stanton, the Secretary of War, and Joseph Holt, the Judge Advocate General thought she was guilty and there's no question in my mind that her defense lawyer, Frederick Aiken, thought she was innocent. Perhaps the truth is somewhere between both points of view and I think that's sort of where I would like it to be, because the ambiguity is the most truthful." "The Conspirator" is being produced by The American Film Company in association with Wildwood Enterprises.
As previously reported, Groff will also be seen in the independent film "Twelve Thirty," which will open at the Angelika Film Center in New York Jan. 14, 2011, following a premiere sponsored by the Film Society of Lincoln Center on Jan. 10.