We asked you on Facebook to send us any questions you had for the filmmakers of THE CONSPIRATOR. Here are some of the answers! Keep asking questions, as we’ll be answering more in the coming weeks.
Don Weller asked…
In the film why didn’t Mary Surratt cry out, “please don’t let me fall” right before the hanging and why didn’t they include Lewis Powell’s last words, “Mrs. Surratt is innocent. She doesn’t deserve to die with the rest of us?”
The screenwriter knew about Mary Surratt’s line, “Please don’t let me fall”; however, he felt that it was not material to playing that scene in our film. In fact, he felt it would be distracting to the audience when he wanted to keep them focused on the action at hand. We strive to be historically accurate but we cannot literally include each line accounted for in history.
As for the Lewis Powell line, there is disagreement over whether he said this. Kate Clifford Larson, author of The Assassin’s Accomplice maintains Powell did not say this. What’s more, if he did say this, was he acting with characteristic Confederate “gallantry” (sexism) or did he actually know? We felt it was more honest and fair to the story to leave this out.
Susie Sharpe Hohenstein asked…
What was it like filming in my hometown Savannah Georgia?
Savannah is a terrific place to film. Robert Redford already knew Georgia and Savannah well since he had filmed The Legend Of Bagger Vance there. Our consulting historians all agreed that Savannah is the modern day American city that most closely resembles post-Civil War Washington City. On top of that, Georgia has a very attractive tax credit for films.
Most important, there were so many great locations (interior and exterior) throughout the city and outside Savannah proper (e.g. we shot numerous scenes at Fort Pulaski).
Plus, the people and weather are so perfectly warm. Thank you, Savannah.
Patricia Bergey Briggs asked…
Were we supposed to be able to deduce what ‘secret’ Holt confided to Aiken? Was it that Aiken should use Anna to implicate her brother without letting Mrs. Surratt know beforehand?
We are not supposed to know what exactly is said but we do know that Holt (and Stanton) want one thing: the conspirator who got away – John Surratt. The government improves Mary Surratt’s conditions with the idea that Frederick Aiken will get the location of her son from her. Aiken does his best but Mary will either not acquiesce or she does not know.