'Gods and Generals' Relives Civil War
History buffs mixed with movie fans -- and political pundits -- in Washington, D.C., earlier this week for the capital's premiere of the Civil War epic "Gods and Generals," starring Mira Sorvino, Robert Duvall, Jeff Daniels and Stephen Lang.
"I learned a lot," Sorvino, 35, who won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for Woody Allen's 1995 "Mighty Aphrodite," told PEOPLE. She plays Fanny Chamberlain in "Gods and Generals," the prequel to 1993's "Gettysburg" that opens in theaters this month.
"It's very interesting to see how independent, spirited, and intelligent women were at that time and how much of a true voice they had within their own families," she said.
Lang, 50, who stars in the film as Gen. Stonewall Jackson (and appeared in "Gettysburg" as Maj. Gen. George E. Pickett), said he became a Civil War buff during his 20s after reading "The Killer Angels," the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel on which "Gettysburg" was based.
"I fell in love with that book and determined in my mind that it would be the greatest film ever made, and I had to somehow be part of it," he said. Since doing that first film a decade ago, " I have been connected with the Civil War community -- the preservationists, the reenacting community, the Gettysburg Institute, the historians. It's a wonderful, fascinating world."
But in the midst of discussing 140-year-old Civil War history, stars also commented how this film also holds resonance today, as America faces a potential war with Iraq.
"So much of our films are a farewell," Lang says. "People saying goodbye to their mothers, their fathers, their children and their homes as they go off to fight a war. And this is something that is very much on a lot of our minds every day right now."
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