James Green, Sr. is the patriarch of the Green family and keeper of its fortune. He is struggling to navigate the tricky territory of maintaining his family business while living in an occupied city—not to mention keeping the peace in his Southern loyalist household. His schemes to avoid signing the Oath of Allegiance and provide coffins for the Union army eventually land him in trouble when a new provost marshal comes to town.
Gary on James:
If there’s a basis of his character, at least early on, it is to make the best of an undesirable situation. But he starts out with the attitude that there is really nothing he can do about it, that it is out of his hands. And in order to hang on to what he’s got, his first choice is to appease and work with and try to charm, if you will, the enemy while still maintaining some kind of integrity. And as the story goes on, that’s what becomes more difficult for him to do, both for himself and for his family.
His relationship with his son is filled with a lot of tension. His son feels a deep kind of anxiety, regret and even bitterness for not being able to serve in the conflict due to a physical handicap, while James, Sr. is more interested in him staying to help with the businesses. So you have this family in a captured community, and even though they are at the moment allowed to live on the premises, they do so with everyone else sharing it. So he has to spend a lot of his time saying things he doesn’t truly believe in and just kind of capitulating.
Gary Cole can currently be seen on HBO’s Emmy winning comedy “Veep” opposite Julia Louis-Dreyfus. He recently completed work in the Blumhouse feature "The Town That Dreaded Sundown" and appeared in the New Line feature "Tammy" opposite Melissa McCarthy, "Susan Sarandon" and "Allison Janney."
Best known for his film roles in classic cult comedies such as "Office Space," "Pineapple Express," "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby" and "Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story," Cole is a veteran of both the screen and the stage.