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Re-enactor sees himself in soundtrack for 'Gods and Generals'

February 07, 2003|by MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

Hagerstown resident Chris Utterback opened up his copy of the newly released soundtrack from the movie "Gods and Generals" Tuesday and was shocked to see his own picture looking back at him from the inside cover.

"At least I thought it was me but I wanted to be sure," Utterback said from his South Pointe home Thursday, two days after Warner Bros. released the soundtrack.

The Civil War movie, which was directed by Ron Maxwell, will have its Washington County premiere Tuesday at The Maryland Theatre, and is scheduled for wide release Feb. 21.

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Utterback checked all the details of the picture to be sure it was him.

"I had volunteered to carry a flag in a couple of scenes and I was also carrying a white haversack like in the picture," he said.

The brim of his hat somewhat obscures his face, but he recognized the unusual white stripe on the strap across his coat.

The clincher was the pants, Utterback said.

"They were really different and I had them rolled up at the bottoms," Utterback said, showing them off to compare with the photo on the CD cover.

Friends finally started calling and saying they recognized Utterback from the slim features of his face. Then he was convinced that it really was him.

Utterback said he got involved in the making of the movie as a way to have a unique father-son experience with his younger son, Tyler, who at 18 is a member of a re-enactor group known as the 1st and 14th Tennessee.

"The group he's in is terrific," Utterback said. "There are about a dozen of them and I sometimes go along but I work shift work in Montgomery County and I can't commit to the time necessary to join."

Utterback who works for Mirant, a power company, said he put in more than 400 hours on the movie project.

"I used my weekends and all my vacation time to do it but it was great," he said.

Wife Donna and older son Todd round out the Utterback family, but only Chris and Tyler have the re-enacting passion.

"When Tyler was little, we lived in Sharpsburg and he got involved in re-enacting through the Heritage Days held there each year," Utterback said.

Utterback has an album filled with pictures of him standing next to some of the stars of the movie. He also has shots of himself with his son and the other re-enactors in the group at a variety of the locations where the film was shot.

Utterback also is learning to play the fife so he can contribute something special to his son's group, if and when he gets to join.

Members of the 1st and 14th Tennessee members will appear in full uniform Feb. 21-23 at the Valley Mall movie theaters when "Gods and Generals" opens.

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