Enough time has elapsed between 1993’s ”Gettysburg” and this prequel for two Civil Wars and a minor skirmish. Nonetheless, veterans of the Ted Turner-backed historical saga were ready when the call came – kind of. ”I told [Ronald F.] Maxwell, ‘Did you have to wait 10 years?’ God. Makeup!” exclaims Jeff Daniels, who reprises his role as Col. Joshua Chamberlain. The director recalls telling his troops, ”If you’ve put on any weight, take it off.” Verily, ”Gods”’ shoot was not for the weak: The battle epic clocks in at three and a half hours, down from its original six. Daniels, who did much of the speechifying in ”Gettysburg,” passed the torch to Stephen Lang, who plays Confederate general Thomas ”Stonewall” Jackson, the new film’s focus: ”I?d keep asking [Stephen], ‘How’s it going? You okay?’ It can get lonely out there. Everyone’s running around, shooting guns, and you’re there with yet another three-page speech.” Maxwell isn’t worried about long-windedness – just beards. ”Maybe the only criticism of ‘Gettysburg’ I’m willing to accept is that in a couple of cases, the facial hair wasn’t as convincing as it could have been,” he says. (Feb. 21)
Posted February 7 2003 — 12:00 AM EST
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