Just to wet everyone’s appetites just a little bit more! We have all seen various snippets and brief synopses of what Copperhead is about, but below is the full one, which can be found on the film’s official website. As we begin to really follow this film, because production began today, now would be a good time to check it out. In the next few days, I’ll be posting my thoughts on the casting selections of Jason Patric, who will star as Abner Beech, as well as Angus Macfadyen. It should be a lot of fun! Hop on and enjoy the ride!
The Copperhead is unlike any Civil War story that has ever been filmed. It is a story of the war at home—of a family ripped apart by war, of fathers set against sons and daughters, of a community driven to an appalling act of vengeance against a man who insists on exercising his right to free speech during wartime. A story of the violent passions and burning feuds that set ablaze the homefront during the Civil War, The Copperhead is also a timeless and deeply moving examination of the price of dissent, the place of the individual amidst the hysteria of wartime, and the awful cost of war—a cost measured not in dollars but in fractured families, broken loves, and men dead before their time.
Based on the extraordinary novel by Harold Frederic, which the great American critic Edmund Wilson praised as a brave and singular book that “differs fundamentally from any other Civil War fiction,” The Copperhead is the story of Abner Beech, a stubborn and righteous farmer of Upstate New York, who defies his neighbors and his government in the bloody and contentious autumn of 1862.
For his renegade politics, Abner is shunned by the community: treated as an outlaw, a pariah, a traitor. His family is torn asunder when his son Jeff, who is in love with the daughter of Abner’s chief tormentor, runs off to join the Union Army. Jeff is lost at the battle of Antietam, the wry and lanky cut-up Ni Hagadorn goes South to find him, and thus begins a tale of recovery and redemption, of retribution and reconciliation, of vengeance and violence and the salvific properties of love.
The Copperhead is the great untold Civil War story. Far from the Virginia battlefields whose names etch our history, the war of The Copperhead visits the devastation and unimaginable loss of a civil war upon a family and a community whose strength and very existence are tested by fire, rope, knife, and betrayal. This is the Civil War come home.
With The Copperhead, director Ron Maxwell, who with Gettysburg and Gods and Generals established himself as our foremost cinematic interpreter of the American Civil War, takes on the War from a stunning and unexpected and richly, unforgettably humanist angle.
Additional information and coverage can be found here.