Director talks 'Copperhead' film debut in Gettysburg - abc27 WHTM

Director talks 'Copperhead' film debut in Gettysburg

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"Copperhead" is a term from the Civil War era used for a person who lived in the north but did not support the war. The Union saw this group as traitors, hence giving them the name of a venomous snake.

There are two sides to that coin.

The Copperheads embraced the name, likening themselves instead to copper pennies; a pre-Lincoln symbol of liberty.

"He is against slavery, he is for the Union, but he thinks going to war is not the solution," said film director Ron Maxwell, speaking on behalf of his main character Abner Beech.

Based on the 1893 novella by Harold Frederic, Copperhead is the third in a trilogy of Civil War films for Maxwell. This time, the battlefields are distant, with the burdens at home in the forefront.

"The boys go off to war, the camera stays at home," explains Maxwell.

In the movie trailer Beech declares, "We were far from the battlefields, at least we thought we were."

The film is set to be released nationwide June 28, but Gettysburg will get the first look at the historic Majestic Theater the evening prior.

"It will really heighten the great celebration of the sesquicentennial, and people love their films here in Gettysburg," said Jeffrey Gabel, the founding executive director of the theater.

In 1993 Maxwell debuted his film "Gettysburg" at the theater, and spent nearly 15 years in and around town. "I have a very strong emotional connection to this place," he said.

Maxwell adds that in his previous Civil War films, the focus was why "good, honorable men chose to go to war."

In Copperhead, the question is why they chose not to.

It's a potentially pot-stirring combination of life, death and politics. In the face of that, this storyteller says that he's in it for truth, and for that he makes no apologies.

"Making movies is not for pansies, especially not movies about the Civil War," adds Maxwell with a chuckle.

Copperhead will premiere at the Majestic Theater in Gettysburg on June 27. Tickets, including VIP passes and a chance to meet the cast, are still available.

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