Jan 03, 2003
U.S. senators have cameos in Civil War filmBOB LEWIS
Associated Press Writer
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Sen. George Allen is one of the U.S. senators with a few seconds of face time as Confederate officers in a Civil War movie that opens next month.
Virginia's Republican junior senator has a nonspeaking role of an unnamed Rebel on the staff of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee in "Gods and Generals," a feature film based on the best-selling historical novel of the same title by Jeff Shaara.
The book is set amid the battles of Fredericksburg and the Wilderness campaign and focuses on Confederate Gens. Lee and Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson and Union commanders Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain and Winfield Scott Hancock.
The film stars Robert Duvall as Lee and Jeff Daniels as Chamberlain, the role he played in the 1993 film "Gettysburg" based on the book "The Killer Angels" by Shaara's father, Michael Shaara.
Allen is difficult to recognize costumed in the gray uniform and wearing a fake mustache, said the senator's spokeswoman, Carrie Cantrell. In the movie, he's sitting amid a group of Confederates, she said.
"Actually, he's cast doing something he does well: spitting tobacco," said Julie Rautio, a freelance publicist coordinating a fund-raising event tied to the Feb. 18 premiere of the film in Richmond. Allen occasionally uses smokeless tobacco.
Proceeds from the fund-raiser will benefit Civil War historical site preservation and the African-American History Museum, said Rautio, who served on Allen's press staff when he was governor.
Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., and former Sen. Phil Gramm, R-Texas, are also cast as Rebel brass, also largely unrecognizable in period costume and makeup, Cantrell said.
Allen is not the only member of his family in the movie. His son, Forrest, was also an extra for the film.
Allen had no choice over his role, Cantrell said. "They just handed him the uniform and told him to put it on," she said.
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