The movie is AWESOME!!! Set in 1862, it is a Civil War story, but it is not a "war film" per se as there are no battlescenes. It is, rather, a story of the other battlefront- that at home. It tells of families torn apart by war, fathers in conflict with their children, political disputes which pit neighbours against neighbours who have been friends all their lives, a community driven to vengeance against one of their own. Copperhead is a moving look at the horrible price of war - not only the cost of lives lost on the battlefields, but also the destruction of families and communities on the homefront.
Far from the battlefields to the south, Copperhead takes place in upper New York state. Abner Beech (Billy Campbell) is a farmer who has long been an upstanding citizen of his community. Now, because he opposes the war and is not afraid to exercise his right to freedom of speech, he is labelled a Copperhead (think snake)- a term used for those in the north who opposed the war. He simply does not believe in sending his son and the other young men of the community to fight and kill their fellow Americans. His neighbour Avery (Peter Fonda) is a Unionist and believes the war is necessary to preserve the Union. Angus MacFadyen plays Jee Hagadorn, an Abolitionist. Three strong characters with very different opinions on the war. I won't give away any more of the plot, but there is a love story as well (a very handsome couple, might I add!)
Many Kings Landing staff were extras in the movie and I was at first intent on watching for familiar faces in the scenes as well as enjoying all the Kings Landing "scenery". It wasn't long before I was swept up in the deeply emotional story. The acting was superb - not only the veteran actors, but the lesser known actors as well, most of them Canadians and Maritimers - all but six in fact!! Josh Cruddas of Halifax (who plays Jimmy) and Ciaran MacGillivray of Cape Breton (musician and former member of the singing group The Cottars) both really impressed me, along with Augustus Prew who plays Ni Hagadorn. You can read more about the main cast members here.
You'll see some pretty impressive credentials!
After we watched the movie (the Director's cut actually - slightly different from what will be shown in theatres), there was a Question and Answer period with Director Ron Maxwell, Co-Producer John Huston and 7 cast members on stage. Questions were taken from the audience and it was very interesting to hear the cast speak of their experiences during the filming. Of course there were a few amusing stories as well and it was so obvious that everyone involved in the film loved Ron Maxwell and thought very highly of him. I was thrilled to speak to him personally at the reception afterward and tell him how much I enjoyed the film. It's not every day you get to speak to a movie producer!!
Visit the Copperhead website here to learn more about this great Civil War movie with a difference. As soon as a Canadian distributor is found, there will be a "demand" button added to the website for Canadian showings. I will let you know when it's there, so you can add your request for it to be shown in your local area. The button that's there now is only for U.S. showings so if you are an American reader, please hit that button and ask for the movie to come to your local theatre. We want this movie to be a BIG success!