Hollywood actors bring war to Sills Hall
They can fight against the confederacy but can they survive the winter in Maine? Apparently not, or so said Scott Cooper and Stephen Spacek, two actors from Ron Maxwell's Gods and Generals, a Civil War film due for release later this month. The actors, who spend most of their time under Hollywood's palms, were frost-bitten when they took a stroll through Bowdoin's pines.
Fortunately, the actors did have some experience battling extreme weather conditions before they undertook the filming of Gods and Generals. They often followed the lead of our country's best Civil War reenactors who lived in close quarters with the actors during the filming of the movie. Clad in wool from head to toe, these re-enactors are deterred neither by the heat nor the rain nor the fact that the war has been over for 150 years. They had a lot to teach the Hollywood actors-so much so that the audience at Gods and Generals gave a round of applause to Ethan Boulard '03 who has worked as a re-enactor in the past (remember his Halloween costume?).
Though director, screen writer, and producer Ron Maxwell could not appear in person, Bowdoin welcomed Dennis E. Frye, the associate producer of Gods and Generals, to speak in Sills Auditorium on Tuesday night. After an introduction by Kid Wongsrichanalai '03 (Bowdoin's resident Civil War buff), Frye spoke about his experience producing Gods and Generals. Of particular interest were his insights into the set. After realizing that it would cost over four million dollars to recreate the nineteenth century town of Fredericksburg, Maxwell and Frye decided to film Gods and Generals on location in Virginia. They negotiated with the National Park Service to utilize Harpers Ferry Park as the Fredericksburg "set." But don't worry, their filming was National Park friendly.
Gods and Generals is a film not unrelated to 1993's Gettysburg, also directed by Maxwell. Jeff Daniels, who portrayed Bowdoin's own Joshua Chamberlain in that film, also appears in Gods and Generals.
Audience members got a chance to see his performance, along with those of Cooper and Spacek, during the half hour screening on Tuesday night. As Frye said, the film promises to be a Hollywood epic telling the story of the battles taking place in Virginia. With 3,000 reenactors serving as extras, how could it be anything other than epic.