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Here’s a casting-change story with a twist: Weeks after shooting had commenced on the Civil War-era drama Copperhead, it seems lead actor Jason Patric has been replaced for failure to take direction from his director. In his place, we’ll get one-time Rocketeer and recent The Killing star Billy Campbell.
Ronald F. Maxwell – the man behind such Civil War efforts as Gettysburg and Gods and Generals -- is helming Copperhead in New Brunswick, Canada. The screenplay tells the all-too-familiar tale of a close-knit family torn apart by the war between States. Patric was set to play family head Abner Beech, only Deadline says the actor “was dismissed … for refusing to take instructions” from Maxwell, and Campbell has been plugged in.
Strange. We’re not saying that Maxwell’s an infallible filmmaker who demands to be listened to. But his past credits suggest he’s at least informed enough on the subject matter that an actor like Patric would want to put his trust in him to make a good film. Also, Patric – while working consistently – hasn’t had the level of success he enjoyed during that 1987-97 run that saw him starring in Sleepers, The Lost Boys and, yes, Speed 2: Cruise Control.
Then again, there are two sides to every story, and I’m sure Patric would like to be able to explain why he and Maxwell had difference on the set of Copperhead. No matter what, it cost him a gig, and opened a door for Campbell. He’s a fine actor, but we know so little about the role. Do you think he’s a good choice to headline Copperhead, or will you wait to reserve judgment? Let us know.