“What happened to love thy neighbor?”, A Review of Copperhead (2013)

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History-based films always work the best when we can watch a particular story and relate to the characters, and then in our minds, just change a few things around, and all of a sudden, a movie set during a particular time period becomes very relevant to almost any era. This is what happens with Ron Maxwell’s Copperhead, a film so incredibly distanced from Gettysburg and Gods and Generals (both in content and style), in a sense that it takes the both-sides-are-right mentality and completely smashes it, instead, choosing to come right out and say that war is wrong, because no matter what side you are on, or what the result is, good people acting as mere pawns in a chess game for generals and politicians, will be killed and wounded regardless. The families and conflicts present in this movie could quite literally be anybody. Yes, they are dressed in 1860’s clothing and talk about far-gone politics, but switch a few items around, and the Beeches and Hagadorns (the two main families of this film) could be any, everyday people dealing with their children being sent off to fight in Vietnam, or perhaps more recent actions in the Middle East. It is a film that can reach out and touch us, bringing us into the history in a more intimate, down-to-earth way.

Copperhead does leave some to be desired, by way of certain actors needing more screen-time, and some characters who are not developed well-enough, but overall, this is a movie that people will be able to relate to and discuss, which is definitely very important for something so laden with politics. As has been said ad nauseum, this is nothing like Maxwell’s other Civil War movies, because the battleground is not of open fields and cannons, but of vitriolic politics, families divided, and homesteads being threatened by fire and rope. The civilian is an oft forgotten facet of all wars and their history, but thankfully this movie begins to show us that the men, women, and children far away from the battlefields were just as much warriors as the soldiers doing the fighting. All of this is helped along by the outstanding soundtrack by Laurent Eyquem, which contributes much to the feeling of the movie.

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“Copperhead” Official Trailer and New Movie Poster Released

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Just this past week, the official trailer and updated poster for Ron Maxwell’s Copperhead, which will hit theaters on June 28th, was released, much to the excitement of fans, who have waited nearly 10 years for another Civil War film from the director of Gettysburg and Gods and Generals. The trailer, amongst fans, has generated a lot of discussion and rave reviews. Also garnering excitement is the new movie poster, which I must say is much better than the original, and really captures and essence and intensity of what this film is about—the American flag backdrop was totally necessary, to convey the point that even with all the strife and how this country was torn apart, we were all Americans in the end. It also includes the tagline, “Patriot to some. Traitor to others.”, which is central to the main character of Billy Campbell, as well as the entire Copperhead political movement as a whole, due to their anti-war feelings.

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Here’s to a Happy and Healthy 2013!

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I’ve always felt that the “fresh start” and “clean slate” as promised by the start of a new year was a bit cliched, but given all that has happened in the past year, especially here in the northeast, with so much damage caused by Hurricane Sandy, and most recently, the school shooting in Connecticut, there are many people in search of just that. I sincerely hope that all of those who had a disappointing 2012 will have a very happy and healthy 2013! There are so many wonderful people out there who have gotten the short end of the stick, and deserve much better.

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Thoughts After a Private Screening of “Copperhead”

Greg with "Copperhead" director Ron Maxwell.
Greg with “Copperhead” director Ron Maxwell.

I have just returned from the Broadway Screening Room, located in the Brill Building in New York City, after having been invited by director Ron Maxwell to a private showing of his film Copperhead, the last time it will be viewed before the picture is locked. I am very limited in what I can say about the film, but I will give you a few tidbits below. I am actually going to write my full review in the next few days and save it for the late May/early June 2013 release, since it is so fresh in my head. Before I get to some details, I just want to say it was great getting a chance to sit and chat with Ron for a few minutes before the film, and also to see actor Brian Mallon again, after we met in the summer of 2011 at the Gods and Generals Extended Director’s Cut world premiere in Virginia. However, in contrast to that film, and Maxwell’s other Civil War work Gettysburg, Copperhead is one that is going to stand alone in terms of films made about the War Between the States. Simply put, it is unlike any other made about the subject ever.

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Exclusive “Copperhead” Photo Update #4: Shots of Kauffman, Brown, Arnaud, and More!

Here is our biggest photo update yet, fresh from the set of Copperhead. We now have our first up-close look at some of the actors/actresses as well some of the crew-members. These were taken by their wonderful still-photographer, and I must say, they are outstanding shots! Enjoy! (Please click for a higher resolution; I tried posting them with a larger size but it would slow down your page loading time.)

Screenwriter Bill Kauffman:

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“Copperhead” Interview: Actor Josh Cruddas

When the producers of Copperhead signed Josh Cruddas, they probably did not realize they were getting someone with so many talents. A 21-year-old up-and-coming actor of many different mediums like theater, radio, television, and film, as well as writing music, the Canadian-born Cruddas now finds himself involved in the biggest project of his young career, fresh off a performance in the critically acclaimed Discovery Channel production Titanic: The Aftermath. For his latest venture, in Ron Maxwell’s Civil War epic, he plays the character of Jimmy, through which the story is told. I had the pleasure of speaking to Josh about his filming experiences so far, and he elaborated on his role, acting method, and much more in our interview below!

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Upcoming Interview: Actor Josh Cruddas

With the New York Rangers now eliminated from the NHL Playoffs, we will now be resuming our full-throttle coverage of Copperhead. As promised, we will hopefully be bringing you some interviews of cast and crew members, and our first one will be with actor Josh Cruddas, who will be playing the role of “Jimmie”. We just spoke by email a few hours ago, and I have sent him the questions. I do not know how long it will take, given the shooting schedule, but I am looking forward to hearing what he has to say!

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