About The Production (Cont'd)
Jason Isaacs, who plays Colonel Tavington, the leader of Britain's elite warriors the Green Dragoons, points out that the levity on set was derived from a feeling of family that was rooted in truth. Indeed, producer Ute Emmerich is Roland Enimerich's sister; the Winther family contributed three brothers, in co-producer and
2nd unit director Peter Winther; assistant director Kim Winther and 2nd assistant director Lars
Winther; stunt coordinator R.A. Rondell had several relations on his team. Even Mel Gibson's daughter, Hannah, was a production assistant.
"There was definitely a family atmosphere going on, not only because the crew included parents and children and brothers and sisters or even because quite a few had worked with Roland and Dean many times before. I also think there was that sense because there was no
screaming or shouting, and that's very, very rare on film sets. No matter what was happening, Dean and Roland kept the atmosphere totally friendly and relaxed. That's priceless," Isaacs says.
Isaacs, the film's personification of wickedness, is witty, affable and self-deprecating in person and hopes the audience doesn't confuse his character with him.
Tavington, loosely based on a real British soldier, spends much of the film perpetrating incredibly horrific acts against the Colonists.
"The film has a real emotional heart to it, and that's what first grabbed me," he continues. "When I got the script initially, I was unable to put it down and just sobbed at the story. Then, of course, I couldn't wait to get my teeth into
Tavington, a character who is so evil. It really is a gift of a part."
The gentle foil to the cruel Tavington is Joely Richardson as Charlotte Selton, Martin's sister-in-law. Both Benjamin and Charlotte mourn the death of his wife, Elizabeth, but the connection is deeper than their common grief.
"He is in mourning for his dead wife, which is something that Charlotte understands profoundly, because Elizabeth was her sister and because she also has experienced the death of her husband. There is an element of shared grief between them, but through the years an unspoken spark has also developed," Richardson explains. "It is an adult kind of affection and respect."
Richardson says that the opportunity to participate in a movie of such historical scope attracted her, but "it was the personal stories, these fascinating characters with such interesting lives" that drew her to the script. "It was a terrifically good read that held my interest and imagination," she says.
Richardson adds that in addition to experiencing the equivalent of a celluloid fairy tale, she looked forward to working with Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin. She found them to be very "actor friendly" filmmakers.
"Working with Roland and Dean very much relates to why I wanted to be part of the project. As I said, I liked the script enormously, but when I met Roland and Dean, I really wanted the job. Both of them are very accessible, very funny and very cool," she says. "I was also really, really excited to work with Mel."
Whereas Charlotte is the film's quiet, nurturing, maternal figure, Anne Howard, played by Lisa Brenner, is her outspoken counterpart. Anne, who supports Gabriel Martin in his advocacy
of the nascent country and its new ideals, is reminiscent of that feminine but strong-willed female paragon Abigail Adams.
"Anne is a 16-year-old girl living in Colonial times, but she definitely has opinions about the war," says Brenner. "If she could, she'd be fighting in it too. She's a 'pre-feminist.' She has passion and fire and ideals, like Gabriel, which I think, among other things, draws them together."
Rene Auberjonois plays Reverend Oliver, the clergyman who marries Gabriel Martin and Anne Howard. He also joins the Militia, fighting a
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