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About The Production (Continued)
Several notable public figures were cast in cameo roles in Gods and Generals; one performance that drew special attention was the appearance of media mogul/filmmaker/executive producer Ted Turner, reprising his Gettysburg role as Waller Tazewell Patton, Confederate Colonel and great uncle of legendary WWII General George S. Patton. Turner took part in scenes with Robert Duvall in which Lee enjoys a USO-style camp show with his officers and troops at his headquarters near Moss Neck, Virginia.

Turner (who admits to saving his costume from Gettysburg) worked a full day on the Maryland location, singing along to a robust rendition of "The Bonnie Blue Flag” and delivering a line of dialogue commending General Hood, played by Patrick Gorman: "We owe you Texas boys a debt of gratitude for putting on these shows.” As the head of Ted Turner Pictures, which fully financed Gods and Generals, it should be noted that Turner received a union scale paycheck for his appearance – $636.

Turner was happy to throw his support behind the film. "I thought this movie needed to be made,” he says. "Young men and old men fighting and dying l00 years ago, just as they do today, is a great tragedy. By watching movies and studying history, maybe we can avoid some of the mistakes of the past.”

Another cameo part went to Maxwell himself. "When I directed Gettysburg, I thought I'd do the ‘Hitchcock' trick of appearing in the film,” he says. "However, the beards and makeup covered me so well, no could find me on screen, so I decided to try again.”

On the final day of principal photography, Maxwell left his director's chair, bearded but recognizable, and crossed to the other side of the camera to play a Union officer among Colonel Chamberlain's weary 20th Maine Regiment as they retreat to the north bank of the Rappahannock River.

His experience bringing Gettysburg to the screen afforded Maxwell some unique casting opportunities when production commenced on Gods and Generals. "Over the years, when Gettysburg came out and subsequent to its release, I had the opportunity to meet many politicians and members of Congress when I was asked to help with bills supporting battlefield preservation,” Maxwell explains. "They, like other people, loved the film and some of those relationships developed into friendships. So when we got closer to shooting Gods and Generals, I thought I would invite them to participate in the film in cameo appearances.”

One elected official who enthusiastically accepted the invitation was U.S. Senator Phil Gramm (R-Texas). Gramm appeared in muttonchops and full regalia as a member of the Richmond House of Delegates, cheering Robert E. Lee as he accepts command of the Army of Virginia. Later, speaking to press, Gramm quipped, "I can't wait for my mother to see me in this get-up.” Also participating in the scene were several local politicians, including Maryland State Senator Donald F. Munson of Washington County.

Another special cameo appearance went to U.S. Senator Robert C. Byrd (D-West Virginia), who celebrated his 84th birthday on the Maryland set of Gods and Generals, sporting a white beard and mustache for his role as a Confederate officer. The film crew surprised Byrd with a birthday cake fashioned in the shape of West Virginia, and Maxwell presented the Senator with a miniature replica of a Civil War cannon.


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