Pre-production News and Notes (8/31/11)

Here is the latest edition of our articles concerning some of the latest news, and some insight, as pre-production continues on To Appomattox.

  • Recently, we presented an article on why Stephen Lang would be an excellent choice for the role of President Abraham Lincoln in the miniseries. The day after the article was published, it was announced that Mr. Lang would indeed portray our 16th President in the program. He is the latest acting announcement from the production team, and makes the second actor from Ron Maxwell’s Civil War duo (Gettysburg, Gods and Generals) to join the cast, following in the footsteps of Patrick Gorman.
  • As with previous Civil War films, the production team will look to the community of Civil War reenactors to fill the ranks of the armies that will be used for the epic battle scenes in the film. In addition to portraying the soldiers who fought for the Confederate and the Union armies, reenactors may also be used to help prepare the actors for their roles as soldiers and officers. No official word yet on when reenactor recruitment will begin, but with pre-production set to begin in February, it is bound to happen very soon.

    Civil War Reenactors present the Civil War soldier as authentically as possible at several events throughout the year.

  • The producers of the series want to make sure that this project is infused with historical authenticity. For this important element, several historical figures have been hired to make sure To Appomattox presents an authentic and historically accurate look at the history of the American Civil War. Among those offering their help are: Ed Bearss, J. David Petruzzi and Cary Eberly (Both of whom were recently interviewed for the blog), D. Scott Hartwig, Sue Boardman, and Thomas Fleming. To see the full list of historical advisers on the program, click here.
  • The show will present the production designers, costume designers and prop masters with the challenge of recreating the history of the United States from the Mexican War through the 1880s. From West Point in the 1830s and 40s, to armies invading Mexico City, to bloody battlefields, small towns and major cities in America, the production team will have their work cut out for them. The official website has a section that shows the type of authenticity the producers are looking for. To view this section of the website, please click here.
  • The director chosen to direct the miniseries is Mikael Salomon. Anybody curious as to whether or not he is qualified for the job of filming a major historical epic need only look at the miniseries Band of Brothers. Mr. Salomon directed two episodes of that acclaimed miniseries: Episode Three, “Carentan,” which presents the best pure battle sequences filmed for the series; and Episode Ten, “Points,” the dramatic episode that closes the series. Both episodes show that he can handle both major battle scenes and powerful character drama. These episodes alone show that he is the right man to direct this eight-hour historical drama about the bloodiest conflict in American history.

As soon as more information is available, we will post it here on the blog.

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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4 Responses to Pre-production News and Notes (8/31/11)

  1. Fred London says:

    Will reenactors, both military and civilian, be responsible for the authenticity of their own outfits?

    • That is an excellent question, and one we can’t exactly answer yet, Mr. London. I am certain that the reenactors pulled for the battle scenes in the film will be from the most authentic in the country. Of course, the costume department and historical advisers will make sure that all costumes, military uniforms, weapons and accouterments will be as authentic and historically accurate as possible. Whatever happens, I am certain this is going to look fantastic from a costuming and military standpoint.

      • Ryan says:

        Can they make sure that the Fat and really old Reenactors don’t show up. I believe that the average age of a combatant in the Civil War was 23. Also will they be including any experiences of the common soldier i.e. Sam Watkins?

  2. Ryan: They will be looking to recruit reenactors who are both age and look-appropriate when the time comes. As to the second question, there are some composite characters created for the series which will take us into the experiences of the common soldiers who fought for the blue and the gray.

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