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Trivia / Gettysburg

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  • Acting for Two: W. Morgan Sheppard provides the Opening Narration in addition to portraying Gen. Isaac Trimble.
  • Box Office Bomb: Budget: $20 million. Box office: $12 million. As a result of its massive length, the film was only able to be released in 248 theaters, often only playing twice in a day. Nonetheless, the film still managed to gross a surprising amount of money considering its release, and it more than made back its money in home video sales.
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  • California Doubling: In microcosm, since while most of the filming actually took place at Gettysburg National Park, the Little Round Top sequences were actually filmed on neighboring Big Round Top because the actual location was too small to fit both the actors and the production crew.
  • Cast the Runner-Up: Sam Elliott was also offered the role of Lee, but by his account, one of his costarsnote  objected, so he agreed to play Buford instead.
  • Channel Hop: Ronald F. Maxwell originally pitched the film to PolyGram Pictures, but the studio went bankrupt.
  • Dyeing for Your Art: George Lazenby insisted that he have a real beard for his role as Brigadier General J. Johnston Pettigrew in the film. His scene wasn't shot until he'd grown a full beard.
  • Extremely Lengthy Creation: The project began development in 1981 and was released 12 years later.
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  • Fake American: Englishman W. Morgan Sheppard as General Trimble, and Australian George Lazenby as General Pettigrew.
  • In Memoriam: A dedication of Michael Shaara (author of The Killer Angels) and Richard Jordan (Lewis Armistead's actor) appears at the end of the film.
  • Milestone Celebration: The film was released 130 years after the actual Battle of Gettysburg.
  • Posthumous Credit: Richard Jordan still received a credit as Lewis Armistead, having completed all of his scenes before dying of brain cancer on August 30, 1993.
  • Throw It In:
    • Some sources claim the scene where General Lee gets mobbed by cheering Confederate soldiers was unscripted. The reenactors enjoyed working with Martin Sheen so much that they showed their appreciation in this manner, while Ron Maxwell filmed it. A similar scene occurs in The Killer Angels, however, so this story may be apocryphal.
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    • Stephen Lang (Pickett) was actually thrown from his horse during the filming of Pickett's Charge. The fall is used in the movie as the point where Pickett realizes how badly things are with his men.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • After Kevin Costner left the project due to scheduling conflicts with Dances with Wolves, Maxwell turned it into a Mini Series for ABC (which had already aired North and South (U.S.)). However, the network dropped it when another miniseries about George Armstrong Custer didn't do so hot ratings-wise.
    • Ted Turner, a Civil War buff himself, acquired the rights to Gettysburg for TNT. However, once he saw the dailies, Turner decided to turn the miniseries back into a film (it still aired on mini-series format on TNT after it was released, though).
    • The role of General Lee was at one time slated for William Hurt, who bailed on the project when PolyGram went broke. Tommy Lee Jones was approached, but could not take it because his schedule was filled. Robert Duvall was the next most likely candidate, having approached the producers and done research on the role, Virginia accent and all, until he turned it down. He would later take the role in Gods and Generals. Albert Finney and George C. Scott were also offered to play Lee until Martin Sheen signed on a sudden last-minute deal.
  • Written-In Infirmity: Inverted. The real General Ewell only had one leg. In his one scene, the General is always shown from the waist up, so the audience can't tell that his actor Timothy Scott isn't missing a leg.