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About The Production
Gods and Generals adds another dimension to the lives of Civil War luminaries General Thomas Jackson and Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain as it portrays their relationships with their wives, two very intelligent, spirited women.

"Fanny was a very independent person for her time,” says Sorvino, who plays Fanny Chamberlain. "She was well-educated, an artist and music teacher. I don't know if I'd say she was rebellious, but certainly feisty and idiosyncratic and not afraid to speak out. She was also very much in love with her husband – the Chamberlains had a very strong relationship, and I think that's evidenced in our scenes together.”

Jeff Daniels feels that although Fanny was distraught at Chamberlain's decision to go off to war, "it was a chance for him to show her that he was more than just a professor, more than just a minister; that he could be a hero. That he could be brave and courageous.”

Kali Rocha enjoyed the challenge of portraying Anna Jackson in all of her complexity. "I don't think I have ever had a film role that was so multi-faceted,” she declares. "It was important to make Anna and Thomas real, and not just have them be the General off at war and the dutiful wife at home. The respect that they had for each other, the sense of humor they shared and the feeling of a shared mission speaks to something profoundly universal about love and dedication, devotion and faith. Their religion was so unifying that it really carried them through a lot of things. It certainly carried her through his death.”

"In Gettysburg, we were focused strictly on the fighting men on the front lines,” says Maxwell. "One of the big differences in this film is that because of characters like Anna Jackson, Jane Beale and Fanny Chamberlain, we have the perspective of a civilian life thrown into chaos, of the literal and figurative invasion of the home front.”

Much valuable information has been gleaned about civilian life during the Civil War from the journals that women kept during that wrenching time. The war had profound effects on both Northern society and, to a greater extent, Southern society, as the war was fought in and around Southern territory. Maxwell needed to understand the point of view of civilians caught between the clashing armies. "I was looking for firsthand accounts of what was going on at the home front, because the war came home during the Battle of Fredericksburg.”

In his research, Maxwell came upon Jane Beale's diary, a record of her experiences living in Fredericksburg through the war years. Mia Dillon plays Beale, a woman who found herself and her family in the midst of battle when the war came to her front door. In the diary, Beale describes her grief at the loss of her son, who was killed fighting near Williamsburg in May of 1862, and her anger towards the Union army encroaching upon her home. "It is painfully humiliating to feel one's self a captive, but all sorrow for self is now lost in the deeper feeling of anxiety for our army….”

In its dedication to depicting the multiple perspectives of the people who lived during the era, Gods and Generals sheds light on an aspect of the war that isn't often discussed and goes against present-day conventional wisdom: the involvement of African Americans within the Confederate Army.

"One of the things that popular culture has not shown us,” says Maxwell, "is

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