News Column

The State Theatre to host world premiere of 'Copperhead'

June 23, 2013


June 23--Ron Maxwell wasn't done with the Civil War.

The director behind the critically acclaimed epics "Gettysburg" and "Gods and Generals" revisits the familiar subject of the War Between the States with his new film, "Copperhead," which will host its world premiere at the State Theatre June 28 at 7:30 p.m.

"I wanted to explore something more intimate," Maxwell said of the film. "My previous pictures focused on officers and leaders, but, in reality, the war was fought by teenage boys, most from small towns whose families ended up devastated by the war even if no battles were fought nearby."

Copperhead will be screened at 7:30 p.m. June 28 and again on June 30 at 2:30 p.m. at the State Theatre. The fee per ticket for the premier will be $15 with the meet-and-greet VIP ticket at $25 for the 75-person capacity. All tickets for June 30 will be $15.

The movie is based on the 1893 novel "The Copperhead" by Harold Frederic, who was a child during the conflicts of the Civil War. The title refers to the name given to Northerners who wanted to negotiate a peace settlement with the Confederates, and the story portrays the war's effects on both families and communities.

"What has remained unsaid, and what Civil War films never fully show, is that within each society, North and South, there were many, many factions," Maxwell said. "You had Southerners with no interest in owning slaves, or seceding from the union. To the north, you had differences of opinion that were just as fractious, even violent. Not everybody who hated slavery or loved the U.S. Constitution was willing to send their children off to die or be maimed in a bloody battle against fellow Americans. That fascinating reality is the force driving Copperhead."

The film stars Billy Campbell as Abner Beech, an anti-war farmer who defies his community, and Angus Macfadyen as Beech's neighbor and enemy, Jee Hagadorn. Two-time Academy Award nominated actor Peter Fonda plays the character of Avery.

"If there's a political point to the film," said screenwriter Bill Kauffman, "it's a defense of dissent."


(c)2013 the Culpeper Star-Exponent (Culpeper, Va.)

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