Benedict Arnold "American General"Another movie now filming in JamestownBy Sam Bari
Producer Tom Mercer of Talon Films, New York, brought his principle
crewmembers and cast from Los Angeles to Fort Getty in Jamestown to film
"American General" on Narragansett Bay. The movie is about the heroic deeds of
"We wanted the most experienced cast and crew we could get to make this
historic film," Mercer said. "So we went to Los Angeles, where we could choose
from the largest pool of production specialists and actors available anywhere.
These people will give us the feature film quality we are striving to achieve.
We also wanted a look of authenticity, and what could be better than shooting a
film about the Revolutionary War in Narragansett Bay, where so much of it
Jamestown provided the settings we needed and a lot more, Mercer said. "We
love the area and the people. We have been very well received, and I must thank
Chuck Masso, owner of Chopmist Charlie's, for the excellent food and catering.
He kept us well-fed," Mercer added.
This film is more than a business venture. It is a labor of love, Mercer
said. "I love historic films, and the three producers of this film, Anthony
Vertucci, myself, and Chris Stearns, who is also the director, feel it is time
to right some wrongs.
"We believe that despite the focus on the treason committed by Benedict
Arnold, he saved the country from losing the Revolutionary War. He was indeed a
hero, particularly at the battle of Valcour Island, the first naval battle in U.
S. history, which is what this film is about," he said. The story is a
re-enactment of how Benedict Arnold built the American Navy and stopped the
British fleet from advancing down Lake Champlain.
Mercer also said they were very fortunate to get the sailboat Providence, a
historically accurate replica, gaff-rigged sloop that was used to play the part
of a number of different ships in the movie.
The lead role of Benedict Arnold is played by veteran television actor Chris
O'Meara, who has starred in episodes of "Without a Trace," "Alias," "Band of
Brothers," and "CSI: NY," to name a few of his many credits.
The film is an independent production that is four years in the making,
Mercer said. "We began in 2003, and this is our third shoot. When we finish
filming in Jamestown, we will be 70 percent complete. The production should be
ready for national broadcast in about a year if all goes as planned, he said.
For absolute accuracy, 12 different historians worked on the
research for the film. The script was based on "American General," a book
written by James Kirby Martin, the main historian. The book and film depict
Benedict Arnold as the hero that he was.
The production filmed in Jamestown for five days, with most of the principle
photography taking place in the bay off Fort Getty and in the park.
The film has been sponsored by the state of New York Education Department
promoting tourism, and by funding and loans from private benefactors interested
in the project. Mercer said they are seeking three additional sponsors to
complete the film.
Mercer's other production company, Mercer Films, is releasing "Uncivil
Liberties," at the beginning of the New Year. The movie is a terrorist thriller
written and directed by Mercer.