Ridley Scott and The History Channel to Develop American Civil War Documentary GETTYSBURG

     February 9, 2011

ridley-scott-gettysburg

For the 150th anniversary of America’s deadliest war, Ridley Scott and his brother Tony are teaming up with the History Channel to produce Gettysburg, a new feature documentary which reinvents how we look at the historic battle. In the four years of conflict between the Union and Confederate armies, over 600,000 American lives were lost. So it’s quite fitting that the Gettysburg is being described as “a visceral, terrifying experience.”

The Scott brothers plan to use re-enactment footage alongside CGI in order to tell the story of the soldiers on the ground. Gettysburg will be one part of a week-long theme event dedicated to the Civil War on The History Channel. This commemoration will be an annual event on the channel for the next four years. Hit the jump for more on the project, including what Ridley had to say, as well as what other programs The History Channel has in store for their Civil War-themed week. [Update: We’ve added the official press release to this story.  You can read it after the jump.]

history-channel-logoIn speaking with EW, Ridley Scott commented on Gettysburg thusly:

“History is the perfect partner for us to tell the epic true story of Gettysburg. We are excited to bring this battle to audiences in a powerful new way.”

Recently, The History Channel scrapped its plans to air an 8-part miniseries about the Kennedy family for a variety of reasons. The move to launch an annual theme-week about a formative historical event might be their way of nudging back on brand. The inclusion of the Scott brothers ensures that the entertainment value will not be lost.

Rest assured, The History Channel’s regular programming, like Pawn Stars and American Pickers will still air during the week. They will simply have a Civil War theme to them. I’m not sure if this will apply to MonsterQuest or Swamp People.

The History Channel will also feature more informative specials, such as Grant & Lee, highlighting the generals on either side of the war. Nancy Dubuc, president and general manager of History, considers this week-long event to be part of a larger national education campaign.

“The Civil War is arguably one of the most critical events in our nation’s history. Our four-year commitment highlighting the anniversary, key battles, and people who fought during that conflict underscores our deep devotion to the genre — it is a pledge we are making to our country, to our viewers, and to every school in America.”

Look for Civil War week to air on The History Channel sometime in early April.  Here’s the press release:

HISTORY® TO HONOR AND COMMEMMORATE

150TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE CIVIL WAR

FOUR YEAR COMMITMENT ACROSS ALL PLATFORMS INCLUDING

NATIONAL EDUCATIONAL INITIATIVE

WEEKLONG PROGRAMMING EVENT

CIVIL WAR

KICKS OFF THIS SPRING WITH

TWO-HOUR FEATURE DOCUMENTARY SPECIAL

EXEC PRODUCED BY TONY AND RIDLEY SCOTT

GETTYSBURG

New York, NY – February 9, 2011 – HISTORY® is set to launch a four-year initiative to both honor and commemorate the Civil War, which marks its 150th anniversary in 2011, starting with a weeklong programming event, fully integrated across all platforms, it was announced today by Nancy Dubuc, President and General Manager, HISTORY.  HISTORY will launch a national educational campaign tied to the Civil War which will serve educational institutions for generations to come.  A two-hour feature documentary has begun production, Gettysburg, to be Executive Produced by the Scott brothers, Tony (Unstoppable; Man on Fire; Top Gun) and Ridley (Gladiator; Black Hawk Down; American Gangster).

“The Civil War is arguably one of the most critical events in our nation’s history, and one to which  HISTORY has been dedicated since our inception. Our four-year commitment to the Civil War, highlighting the 150th anniversary and the key battles and people who fought during that conflict, underscore our deep devotion to the genre – it is a pledge we are making to our country, to our viewers and to every school in America,” said Ms. Dubuc. “To kick off this epic programming event, I can think of no better and more amazing, awe inspiring story-tellers than Tony and Ridley Scott. They will bring the raw courage of all who fought in Gettysburg to light.”

“HISTORY is the perfect partner for us to tell the epic true story of Gettysburg.  We are excited to bring this battle to audiences in a powerful new way,” said Scott Free, principal Ridley Scott.

Gettysburg will strip away the romanticized veneer of the Civil War and present the engagement in a new light: a visceral, terrifying experience with everything on the line. At its core, this is the story of the soliders on the ground, not the generals who commanded from behind the frontlines. Compelling CGI and powerful action footage place viewers in the midst of the fighting, delivering both an emotional cinematic experience and an information packed look at the turning points, technology, and little known facts of perhaps America’s greatest battle.

Gettysburg will launch a week long programming event on HISTORY, including special Civil War themed episodes of Pawn Stars, American Pickers and other specials throughout the week, details of which to be unveiled over the coming months. As well, the network will also premiere a two-hour special, Lee & Grant.

Produced with the cooperation of leading Civil War historian Winston Groom, author of Forrest Gump, Lee & Grant is a personal look at two iconic leaders of the Civil War. Surprising details reveal the bold choices and almost godlike power Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee summoned on decisive battlefields like Vicksburg and Gettysburg that, within days of each other, turned the tide of the war. As part of HISTORY’s Civil War Week, this special features a unique perspective, exploring how these men changed the course of American history.

National advertisers Bank of America, Ram, and GEICO have signed on to sponsor the week-long event.

Gettysburg is being produced for HISTORY by executive producers Tony and Ridley Scott as well as Mary Lisio; Showrunner is Ben Fox. Director is Adrian Moat; Writer is Richard Bedser; Graphics produced by Stargate Studios; HISTORY Executive Producers are David McKillop, Mary Donahue and Julian P. Hobbs.

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