A Taste of 'Glory'

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Students who belong to the history club at Andrew Jackson High School in Jacksonville, Fla., share an interest in the past and an enthusiasm for historical re-enactments.

Sometimes, they even get to be in the movies.

The club has developed a reputation for working in historical re-enactments, and Hollywood producers occasionally call on the students to work as "extras" in feature films with historical settings.

So far, the student history buffs have lent their time and energy to such movies as "North and South," "The Alamo," and "Sam Houston.''

And in the group's latest foray into moviemaking, the 17 club members, who range in age from 15 to 17, found themselves rubbing shoulders with the popular actors Morgan Freeman, Matthew Broderick, and Denzel Washington filming scenes for the current hit Civil War film "Glory."

The film tells the story of a black regiment from Massachusetts and its white officers from its formation through a major unsuccessful assault on Fort Wagner--the fortress protecting Charleston--in July 1863.

To prepare for their roles, the students studied the events they would recreate and researched the details of the uniforms they would wear, according to Jim Sheets, the history club's faculty sponsor.

The boys in the club participated in film sequences depicting the assault on Fort Wagner, and the girls--and Mr. Sheets--took part in a parade scene. Between "takes," Mr. Sheets said, the students got a chance to meet with the actors.

They "got a big kick out of eating lunch with Matthew Broderick," Mr. Sheets said.

But the students got more than just the thrill of working in a hit movie--they were paid union wages for their time on the set during spring break last year and over several weekends.

The students' total performance time in the film is only eight minutes, said Mr. Sheets, but the experience likely will stay with them much longer.

At least until filming begins on their next movie, the upcoming "The Monitor and the Merrimac."--jw

Vol. 09, Issue 19

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