Dead Confederates, A Civil War Era Blog

“Facial hair and longish hair are a big plus.”

Posted in Media, Memory by Andy Hall on October 5, 2011

Casting is open in Richmond for extras in Spielberg’s adaptation of Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Team of Rivals.

Filming for the project – with a working title of “Office Seekers” – is expected to begin within the next couple of weeks and last until December, but the exact dates and locations remain a secret. “With the casting wrapping up, you can tell that they will start filming soon,” said Mary Nelson, communications director with the Virginia Film Office. . . .

Just days before the beginning of filming, the casting crew is still looking for Caucasian and African-American men. All must be 18 years of age or older, between 6’1″ or under, 200 pounds or less. Facial hair and longish hair are a big plus. Men with shaved heads, dreads, braids or piercings need not apply.

“We are especially looking for men to portray African-American Union soldiers,” Dowd said. Other extra roles for African-Americans include slaves. “We’re still looking for servants for White House scenes, so restaurant experience is a plus,” Dowd said.

Other openings still available include African-American women. Long hair is not necessary, but no dreads, braids, modern cuts or wigs. Dress size should be between 6 and 12. The casting crew is also looking for Caucasian women with longish hair of natural color, dress size between 6 and 12.

Dowd said that the job pays $79.75 per day for up to 10 hours or less. But extras are sometimes required to stay on set for up to 12 hours or longer. “We’ll need many extras for more than one day, which makes this a great opportunity for people who are currently without a job,” Dowd said.

Applicants may send a recent photo to along with height, weight and contact information or mail to Office Seekers, Attn: Extras Casting, 8080 AMF Drive, Mechanicsville, VA 23111.

The high-profile project has not gone unnoticed by heritage groups, which have a tendency to react to anything that depicts the Lincoln administration in a sympathetic or positive light. A few days ago there was a reception for Spielberg at the Governor’s Mansion in Richmond (above), which was duly protested by the “Virginia Flaggers,” who work to promote the display of the Confederate flag and, in this case, to remind the director “of the truth about Lincoln and the ultimate sacrifice made by over 32,000 Virginians in defense of the Commonwealth.

Governor McDonnell, of course, has been declared an enemy by these same folks for the last eighteen months, since he retracted his original 2010 Confederate History Month proclamation, one reportedly written by the Virginia SCV. McDonnell subsequently announced that Confederate History Month would be replaced by a more inclusive Civil War in Virgina Month. In response, senior SCV officials went so far as to hold a press conference “to outline the ‘ongoing failures’ ” of the governor “to deal with a variety of history and heritage issues in Virginia.” They threw in a denouncement of former Governor George Allen (of “macaca” infamy) who had publicly distanced himself from the organization while in office.

Should we expect even more carping in the wake of Tuesday’s announcement that the Virginia State Capitol, which served as the Confederate Capitol during the war, will be used as a filming location? You can bet on it. Today, in 2011, Virginia is shaping up to be central battleground of memory of the conflict of 1861-65.

Image: Gov. Bob McDonnell welcomed filmmaker Steven Spielberg to the governor’s mansion for a reception on Monday. Via Thanks to Jimmy D at Coates’ place for suggesting this story.

5 Responses

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  1. Rob Wick said, on October 7, 2011 at 11:29 am

    I’ve never seen a group of people fight so hard to make themselves insignificant and unimportant.


    • Andy Hall said, on October 7, 2011 at 11:50 am

      The folks who bang this particular drum have self-selected themselves into the role of perpetual victims. (They routinely accuse critics of Confederate hagiography as imposing “cultural genocide” on them.) But this sense of persecution is nothing new; it predates the war itself. First it was the abolitionists, then the Black Republicans, then Lincoln, then the Radical Reconstructionists, then the civil rights agitators, then the race-mixers and desegregationists, and now it’s liberal bloggers, politically-correct academics and craven politicians who sell out Southron Heritage for political expediency (like Gov. McDonnell) who are the oppressors.

      It’s a very old, very tired song.

  2. Foxessa said, on October 9, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    I wish we could be spared this. And we thought The Conspirator was a mess.

    Love, C.

    • Andy Hall said, on October 9, 2011 at 5:25 pm

      I’m interested to see what Spielberg makes of the book. I haven’t seen The Conspirator, though I understand it is intentionally ambiguous about Mary Surratt’s involvement in the assassination. I guess it would almost have to be, given the unknowns of her part in the case. I’ve seen some ardently Southron folks praise the movie as supposedly vindicating her, but my understanding is that’s exactly NOT what Redford set out to do, and I think they’re seeing more what they want to see, as opposed to what’s on the film.

  3. Foxessa said, on October 11, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    The thing is, the movie is something of a mess, just because Redford didn’t really know the history of this whole terrible tragedy, except as he got it from movie history. Also, boring. Excruciatingly so.

    And Spielberg that arch-Sentimentalist? What he’s gonna do? Ouch!

    Love, C.

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