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Civil War film's script not finished

loan remains

December 23, 2004|BY TARA REILLY

tarar@herald-mail.com

WASHINGTON COUNTY - It's been about two years since the Washington County Commissioners loaned director Ron Maxwell $300,000 to shoot much of his next Civil War movie in the county, but there's no clear answer as to when or if the film will be made.

A Dec. 18 e-mail from Maxwell's production company to The Herald-Mail stated the script for "The Last Full Measure" has not been completed and that preproduction wouldn't begin before 2006.

According to a promissory note between Maxwell and the County Commissioners, Maxwell has until December 2005 to begin production of the movie, or he'll be required to repay the loan with interest over five years.

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The note states that the movie was to be in production within three years of the loan's disbursement, which was in December 2002, County Attorney Richard Douglas said.

The previous board of commissioners voted 4-1 in October 2002 to lend the money to Maxwell in the hope of having much of the film shot in the county, as was the Civil War movie "Gods and Generals."

If half the movie is shot in the county, the loan would become a grant.

"The Last Full Measure" is the third and final book in the series of novels written by Michael Shaara and his son, Jeff Shaara.

Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook and Vice President William J. Wivell were on the previous board. Snook supported the loan, while Wivell's was the only dissenting vote.

"It's not really a function of county government to be in the filmmaking business," Wivell said Wednesday.

'I'd say it's a flop'


In July, Maxwell said the future of "The Last Full Measure" would be contingent in large part on how well "Gods and Generals" sold on DVD.

Current DVD sales information was not available Wednesday. About 1 million DVDs had been sold as of the end of July, Maxwell said then.

"Gods and Generals," which cost $86 million to produce and market, grossed $12.9 million in theaters worldwide, according to box office tracker, boxofficemojo.com.

"I'd say it's a flop," Commissioner John C. Munson said Wednesday.

Munson said he thinks the commissioners should work on getting the $300,000 back.

"Maybe it's sounding like it's starting to fall through," Munson said of "The Last Full Measure." "We can't let it go too long, or maybe somebody would forget."

Snook wants update


Snook said he wants to get an update from Maxwell before he decides whether the commissioners should extend the three-year deadline.

County Budget and Finance Director Debra Bastian said she didn't think Maxwell has spent any of the money, because the movie hasn't gone into preproduction, but that there was no way to tell.

"Nothing's on our books to track," Bastian said. "When we give loans out, we don't track individual expenses."

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