We’ve talked a lot in the last two “What We Want to See” articles about a lot of the battle scenes and other elements that are to take place in To Appomattox. From recreating the hells of war, to the music that the soldiers played, to the accurate look of the Civil War soldier, these are all important elements, to be sure. However, the most important element that will help bind these things together is a good, involving story with characters you either care about, or are fascinated by, to make all the authenticity of music, battle and soldiers truly matter.
Mel Gibson, known for such historical epics as Braveheart and The Patriot, once said: “The more intimate story and just the simple truths of the human experience have to be very clear in order for the epic nature of the film to be worthwhile.” In other words, a strong, character-driven narrative is necessary for an epic film or miniseries to truly work on the dramatic level. One of the series we’ve mentioned is Band of Brothers, and there is no denying that this is a good example of a human drama against an epic backdrop. While the series had plenty of combat, the heart of the series came from the human drama of the men of Easy Company bonding together during the most horrific of wars. It is truly the story of these men, and the sacrifices they made, and how they stood together to do a tough job.
With To Appomattox, there are many great human-driven stories to tell. From the officers who commanded these men into battle; to the common soldier who shouldered his musket and marched into the mouth of hell; to the families at home waiting for word of their loved ones on the front lines. The American Civil War provides a large canvas, and provides many factual, character-driven stories to tell. And with characters such as Grant, Lee, Longstreet, Jackson, Sherman, Lincoln, and countless others who fought for the Blue and the Gray, there are a wide variety of different characters, with different character traits both good and bad, to share as part of the epic story of men at war. And with a talented writer like Michael Frost Beckner behind the script, there is no question that the stories will be both exciting, emotional, and truly character-driven.