“To Appomattox” Fan Casting, Part Two

Here is the second in our series of fan casting. It is interesting to think about possible choices for certain roles in the upcoming miniseries. Hope you find these as great as we do.

General Joseph Hooker: Brent Spiner

This is actually a suggestion made by a Facebook member a while back, so this isn’t really our idea. But I feel that their suggestion is perfect for the role of “Fighting Joe” Hooker. Although remembered mostly for his role as Data in the Star Trek franchise, he is a very versatile actor who has had roles in several films and television series, including Independence Day, Phenomenon and the television series Threshold. But the best place to see Spiner’s ability to play different roles, and why he would do well as Hooker in the miniseries, is the episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation entitled “Brothers.” Here, he played three very different roles: the emotionless android Data, his evil brother Lore, and their old and eccentric creator, Dr. Noonien Soong. Each character is different from the other, and Spiner is pitch-perfect in each performance. In addition to bearing a remarkable resemblance to General Hooker, Brent Spiner has a talent that makes him the ideal candidate for the role where he has to switch from being very cocky in his assessment of his campaign against Lee, to losing confidence when Lee makes a bold move against him.

General William S. Rosecrans: Eric Bana

Eric Bana is one of those unsung actors in Hollywood that almost never gives a terrible performance in a role, even in some mediocre movies. One such film was Wolfgang Petersen’s Troy, which I felt was a bit hit and miss in casting. But Bana’s portrayal of Hector in that film was brilliant, and you couldn’t help but root for him in the battle against Achilles. He was also very good in Spielberg’s Munich, playing the head of the Israeli force sent to take out those behind the murder of members of the Israeli team at the 1972 Olympics. But he is probably best known for his role as Nero, the eccentric and villainous Romulan bent on revenge in 2009’s successful Star Trek reboot. These and other roles show that he can play almost any character given to him. The role of William Rosecrans, the officer Grant removes from command after the defeat at Chickamauga, would be the perfect fit for an actor of Bana’s talent. Not to mention that, like many of the actors chosen for their roles, he does bear some resemblance to the Union General.

Colonel Ely Parker: Roger Willie

When it comes to comparing actors to the historical figures, it seems that few come closer to resembling one another than actor Roger Willie and Ely Parker, one of Grant’s staff. But then again, talent also has to go with it as well. If you cast somebody that looks the part, but gives a lackluster performance, then you’ll be in some trouble. Fortunately, Mr. Willie is also a good actor. I’ve only seen one film with him, as Charlie Whitehorse, one of the Navajo code talkers in John Woo’s World War II action-epic Windtalkers. Although this film has generated mostly negative reviews, it is one of my favorites, mainly due to the terrific cast they built up. Roger Willie gave a warm and beautiful performance in the film, but he also showed that he could be courageous, and a warrior, in combat. I feel that he could give an equally powerful performance as the man who some say was given the task of keeping Grant sober during the campaigns against Lee in 1864-65. I can think of fewer actors who could portray this often-overlooked character in American History.


About Steven Hancock

I am an avid student of American and World History, with a particular interest in the American Civil War. I am currently a student at American Public University, working toward a Master's Degree in United States History. I am also a Civil War Reenactor, donning the uniform of the common Union and Confederate soldier at reenactments throughout the year.
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3 Responses to “To Appomattox” Fan Casting, Part Two

  1. Thomas Wolke says:

    If you base your portrayal of William Rosecrans on the memoirs of Grant, you will have done that man a great disservice. Grant hated Rosecrans and lied about him continually in his memoirs. Rosecrans had to write a rebuttal called, “The Mistakes of Grant” to help salvage his reputation. Unfortunately, the world knows Grant but Rosecrans has largely been forgotten, that is, when he hasn’t been villified, even though the south considered him the north’s greatest general. I suggest going to http://rosecransheadquarters.org/ and the William Rosecrans biography. You might also read the one and only biography of Rosecrans called “The Edge of Glory” by William Lamars.

  2. You do make some valid points, Mr. Wolke. Indeed, Rosecrans lost a great deal of respect when Grant relieved him of command of the Army of the Cumberland following the defeat at Chickamauga. But, because Rosecrans also hated Grant, he attempted to block Grant’s reinstatement as General of the Army toward the end of Grant’s life. So, neither really had any respect for the other.

    Although Grant’s memoirs have been used as the dramatic spine of the series, Mr. Beckner has also consulted other sources in order to make sure the story presented in the series is as historically accurate as possible. The men will not be presented as stick figures, but as human beings who were flawed men, but who also did great things in the name of their homes, and their country.

    God bless!

  3. Glatze says:

    Quality articles is the important to invite the users to go to see
    the website, that’s what this site is providing.

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