I had the pleasure recently of e-chatting with actor and fan of the TO APPOMATTOX miniseries, MARY HUSE, who offers her passionate views about the project, the need for everyone to support the Kickstarter crowd-funding campaign to raise production finance, and to re-ignite the current generation’s interest in the American Civil War. http://www.ToAppomattox.com
Mary (pictured above) shares her thoughts…..
What first attracted you to the To Appomattox series?
I stumbled across it on IMDb looking up some of my favorite actors who had been a part of great historical dramas. I immediately fell in love with the project on the “To Appomattox” Facebook page. Here was a dream come true… a film proposal committed to historical accuracy, the honoring of Civil War figures, and the telling of the personal, true life stories of these amazing people. I decided then and there to pursue and support this project, so I that should never have any regrets while watching it. I knew that I, like so many, will go see anything that has to do with the War Between the States. But this was different.
Are you a personal friend of the producers/writers/director?
I am now! But initially,no. I had the great fortune to meet Mr. Beckner at the 2011 Moorpark reenactment (every Civil War enthusiast in Southern California waits for this all year) after some online communication. The circumstances were extremely hectic! A battle had just concluded, Pickett’s charge I think, only the mud version. No one wanted to “die”. But I introduced myself and my Dad to Mr Beckner anyway, while Mommy was in line for beer. Mr. Beckner was all ease and friendliness, and since then we have become friends. I’ve also gotten acquainted with three of the historical consultants, namely Cary Eberly, Ronald C White Jr., and J. David Petruzzi. Mr. Petruzzi in particular has kept me up on the latest new about the series. These are all people highly respected in their fields, extremely sincere and passionate about the Civil War, and yet very accessible and down to earth. And now with the Kickstarter campaign (www.ToAppomattox.com) everyone can be a part of the production. It’s a perfect fit.
Are you an actor yourself?
I am! I’m a fifth generation Angelino who decided she must be a part of telling stories of greatness and inspiration, especially of the historical genre. My great grandparents worked in Hollywood stage production and film studios, my grandmother worked for Cecil B.Demille, my grandfather surfed with Peter Lawford and Jim Arness and even taught Brit actor David Niven how! And my parents met at a production studio where my dad was a client. But watching films like Gone with the Wind and Friendly Persuasion as a kid was what sealed my fate.
Why do you think this is an important TV series that needs to be made and seen?
I think we are all apathetic and forgetful by nature. I know I am. Especially when I’m ignorant to facts, I feel detached from different events in the past. But the Civil War is the most defining moment in our history as a nation. All of the base work defining the United States, laid by our founding fathers, was on the edge. It was waiting to be sealed in history, either by the test of time, or, as it happened, by a monumental conflict over its very definition. This was an upheaval that not only touched Americans living in the 1860s in horrific ways, but continues to affect our lives every single day. Freedom is seen and defined in many ways by different people, and those who love freedom are willing to die for their version. We can and must learn from the commitment these people had to heir values, and from their mistakes. This series will show the amount of sacrifice and courage it took to make us what we are as a nation.
How do you think this show will impact kids now in school who maybe hate learning about history?
My brother and I were homeschooled and had the singular opportunity to focus on subjects that intrigued us, in particular the Civil War. Nothing is going to enthrall and interest the majority of school kids like experiencing history through great film drama…it’s just not. Not books, documentaries, or music on their own. But these things paired with a series like To Appomattox that lets them relate to historic figures in flesh and blood, not a stern hazy photo, will inspire them to find out more. Actors. In uniforms. With gold buttons. On horseback. Hey, it worked for me! And the corsets worked for my brother. Not on him. Oh well, you know what I mean! LOL
As a woman, how do you feel about those women who participated in the Civil war – nurses, even some women disguised themselves and signed-up to fight, as well as the wives who travelled with both armies and the “camp followers” (or floosies)?
Of course the majority of women at that time devoted their lives to being wives and mothers. And during the war they faced the hardest thing that could ever happen to a wife or a mother: experiencing the loss of their husbands and/or children. They experienced this loss in numbers that are unfathomable, losses that have not been paralleled in any American war. And yet, their efforts and support coming from the home lines was so powerful. It’s what they were so convicted about that I want so terribly to understand. Conviction equals strength. Even the strength to send your sweetheart off to face horrors unspeakable and, in the case of the officers, to lead other men to the same. And of course many of the women who endured this war faced desperation and destitution that might drive any one of us to do things we cannot imagine. And they did.
And there were courageous women who either tried to be soldiers, or join them in the camps and fields to help any way they could. They took care of the sick and dying, tended to dead bodies, crossed the line of fire to become angels on the battlefield- mascots of hope and mercy, and spied, smuggled, and used their feminine wiles to achieve victory. I think all of these stories of exceptional women deserve our acknowledgment, and our awareness, by having their stories told, to inspire young women for all time. I’m dying to know them, too.
How do you think To Appomattox will illustrate the real Civil War vs. say, the Gone With the Wind interpretation of the facts?
Civil War series in the past, the ones long enough to give a glimpse of the scope of the conflict, have often focused on fictional characters. It’s time we take some of our appreciation for people who never were, and focus it on real heroes. Gone With The Wind (wonderful, amazing film that it is), came out only 74 years after the war was over (it’s now 75 years since that film’s release). It gives the viewer a most thrilling sense of witnessing the past in technicolor. It is a romanticized porthole, an interpretation that came out when there were many people who witnessed the Civil War still alive. I think that perhaps the wounds were still too fresh to portray certain things about the war realistically. Although these pressures aren’t quite as strong today (well, more so in some parts of the country), we still haven’t had many realistic portrayals of the Civil War. The creators of To Appomattox are committed to honoring our history in a most accurate way.
Any comments you have about the need to donate to Kickstarter campaign (only 13 days left)?
I sincerely hope that some of my sentiments expressed here coupled with Mr. Beckner’s expertise will convince people that this would truly be an important and unparalleled production. Michael and his team have been so transparent as to the components of this series, and how very much To Appomattox, OUR STORY, needs all of us to keep it moving forward. One last thing I’d like to say is that at first I was a little nervous to tell my friends about this Kickstarter campaign. Not because I didn’t believe in this project with all my heart, but I was afraid they would immediately tune me out over any crowd-funding endeavor. I am happy to report that it has been easier than I ever thought to spark conversation. My friends want to be involved, and are happy to have the opportunity to pledge their support for this project that will honor our Country. I hope that everyone will get behind To Appomattox. They’ll be glad they did!
Mary at Fort Sumpter (above)
Mary at Ft. Sumpter (above)
NASCAR fans will be thrilled to learn we have Sprint Cup driver CARL EDWARDS and famed crew chief & now Fox Sports race commentator JEFF HAMMOND acting in this series. Country music fans will also be thrilled as RASCAL FLATTS are not only appearing in the series, they are composing the score and several songs for the series.
Click on www.ToAppomattox.com and support now!