How Many Americans Are Interested in the Civil War?

Of course, it is an absurd question, but apparently the producer and writer of the upcoming TV mini-series, “To Appomattox” wants to know.  An email circular is going around to Civil War round tables and reenacting groups to try to gauge the number so as to guarantee a financial return.  I commented on this series a few weeks ago, but this program is shaping up to be a real doozy.

First off, if you are making a movie or mini-series to appeal to Civil War buffs it is going to suck big time.  If we ever do get a chance to see it we can rest assured that a sufficient number of Americans are still interested in the Civil War. :-)

26 comments… add one

  • GDBrasher Jul 16, 2012

    HBO usually does quality work when they do historical dramas. But you are right, if the producers are trying to appeal to certain groups, we’re in trouble.

    • Andy Hall Jul 16, 2012

      Will anyone, ever, explain the NASCAR connection?

      • Will Hickox Jul 16, 2012

        Money.

      • Scott A. MacKenzie Jul 17, 2012

        NASCAR’s interest represents as close as we will ever get to admitting the Civil War was about race.

        • Andy Hall Jul 17, 2012

          Ouch.

          • Ryan Quint Jul 17, 2012

            Carl Edwards, a driver, was slated to play John B. Gordon. Looking at the cast list he is now absent, so who knows what happened.

          • John Buchanan Jul 22, 2012

            RIMSHOT!!!

  • Margaret D. Blough Jul 16, 2012

    Also, they’re never going to make us all totally happy. I once was talking to someone who was enraged (I’m not kidding; he was really angry) that the movie “Gettysburg” didn’t include his particular area of interest in the battle. I pointed out that (aside from the fact that it was based on a novel & never was a documentary, as should have been clear to anyone who saw “Sgt. Santa” in the opening scenes) that it was a three day battle that had a great deal happening simultaneously, or nearly so, in each army, in the town, and in the interactions among and between them. As it was, the movie was long enough to need an intermission; even if it was long as the Holocaust documentary “Shoah” (9 hours, 4 minutes), the filmmakers couldn’t have covered everything. No matter what they chose, someone would be ticked off.

  • Will Hickox Jul 16, 2012

    If they’re trying to gauge how many Americans are interested in the Civil War by asking round tables and reenacting groups, the figure will be … 100%. This could lead to some unrealistic hopes on the part of the filmmakers.

    • Kevin Levin Jul 16, 2012

      Well then they better get the movie out ASAP before the roundtable folks completely die off

  • Brad Jul 17, 2012

    I’d like to see it first before I rush to judgment.

    • Kevin Levin Jul 17, 2012

      I didn’t judge anything except what I’ve seen thus far.

      • Mark Snell Jul 17, 2012

        I’ve read the script and it’s pretty good, aside from a few bonehead errors that they’ve hopefully fixed. There’s even a “memory” episode.

        • Kevin Levin Jul 17, 2012

          I trust your opinion, Mark, and am hoping for the best.

  • Woodrowfan Jul 17, 2012

    maybe they should look at the box office for the “Lincoln: Vampire Killer” movie… Didn’t it outdraw the “Avengers”??? 8-)

    • Andy Hall Jul 17, 2012

      AL:VK has already grossed three quarters of the combined total box office for Gettysburg and G&G, combined, adjusting for inflation. It’s hardly a summer blockbuster, but it will earn its way.

      But theatrical feature releases aren’t the right comparison for a production like To Appomattox. What they’re shooting for is a something more akin to Band of Brothers, which attracts a different audience and is entirely different in style and tone.

      • Kevin Levin Jul 17, 2012

        I just read your post. Amazing.

      • Woodrowfan Jul 17, 2012

        Andy, I saw your post right after I posted this comment. I should remember to check both your site and Kevin’s before I comment!

        I am disappointed that I missed the Lincoln movie in the local theaters. Oh well, that’s why we have Netflix!

  • Ann Kunkle-Jones Jul 17, 2012

    I just took a look at the cast and I’m a bit baffled with some of the choices. Gonna have to try and reserve judgement, but it’ll be hard as I laughed out loud at at least two of them.

    • Kevin Levin Jul 17, 2012

      Yeah, but some of them bear an uncanny resemblance to their historical counterpart. :-)

  • London John Jul 18, 2012

    “AL:VK has already grossed three quarters of the combined total box office for Gettysburg and G&G, combined”
    And how do its takings compare with those of other vampire movies? That might be a measure of the CW interest factor.

  • Eric Wittenberg Jul 18, 2012

    Kevin,

    I have read the entire script for the entire mini-series, and I am satisfied that the history is accurate, and I likewise am convinced that it will be done as accurately as budgetary constraints will permit.

    • Kevin Levin Jul 18, 2012

      Good to hear.

      • Eric Wittenberg Jul 18, 2012

        I found some errors during my review and pointed them out, and all have been corrected. The primary writer, Michael Brecker, is very determined to get it right, and has gladly accepted all of the constructive criticism that we have thrown at him. I was very pleasantly surprised when I learned that. It made me very hopeful for the future of this project.

        I also want to address the question about the NASCAR connection, as I asked the same question.

        I was advised that with many of the NASCAR drivers being Southerners, many of them have a direct ancestral connection to the Civil War, and that many of them–many of whom are bankrolling the project–have gotten involved in an effort to pay tribute to their ancestors. That’s sincere, and it’s hard to argue with it.

        • Larry Cebula Jul 23, 2012

          Eric, what about the language? So many historical films get the costumes and sets just right (though usually both are too clean), then have the characters speaking the English of our day. In AL:VK, young Abe excuses himself after walking in on two people having sex with “Sorry, my bad.”

          • Eric Wittenberg Jul 23, 2012

            We corrected a bunch of things for them along those lines, Larry. You won’t catch everything, but we caught most of them.

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