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Madison County Actress Wins Role in PBS’s Civil War Series “Mercy Street”

14 November 2015 No Comment
Virginia Morton, author of "Marching Through Culpeper," shares a photo of Emma Green with actress Hannah James. James will play Emma Green in the PBS Civil War dramatic series "Mercy Street."Virginia Morton, author of “Marching Through Culpeper,” shares a photo of Emma Green with actress Hannah James. James will play Emma Green in the PBS Civil War dramatic series “Mercy Street.”
















Twenty-two year old actress Hannah Vere Nicoll, known professionally as Hannah James, was born in a house built in 1830 in Madison County, Virginia. Homeschooled until age ten, she frolicked over farmland with no modern encroachment in view. Little did she know while growing up in a region rich in history that one day she would be cast in the coveted role of Emma Green, sweetheart of legendary Confederate scout Frank Stringfellow, a native of adjacent Culpeper County.

Mercy Street, PBS’s first dramatic series in ten years, was filmed in Richmond and Petersburg, Virginia. According to press releases: “Mercy Street” follows the lives of two volunteer nurses on opposing sides of the Civil War — New England abolitionist Mary Phinney (played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead of “The Returned’s”) and Confederate supporter Emma Green (played by newcomer Hannah James) — when the Green family’s luxury hotel in Alexandria, Virginia, has been transformed into Mansion House, a Union Army hospital tending to those wounded by the war. The series is inspired by memoirs and letters from real doctors and nurse volunteers at Mansion House Hospital.

The role of Emma Green seems like a perfect fit for James who graduated with honors from the highly selective Guildford School of Acting in Surrey, England in September 2014. She then moved to Los Angeles and began a series of auditions. But garnering her first leading role in the star-studded PBS series carried her back home to Virginia.

Her time on set was spent learning about brave young women during the Civil War, who made abrupt transformations from childhood to womanhood, standing strong and fervent alongside fighting soldiers. She spends weekends at her family’s historic Madison County home which is located in close proximity to sites where several of Frank Stringfellow’s daring escapades took place. Following the war, Frank married Emma and at age 36 he became an Episcopal minister. He and Emma and their first two children lived at nearby Woodberry Forest School, where he served as the school’s first chaplain.

Slender like Emma, James has blue eyes that sparkle when she discusses delving into the hearts and souls of Frank and Emma with fellow cast member Jack Falahee (“How to Get Away With Murder”), who portrays the irrepressible Stringfellow. The love-struck scout repeatedly risked his life to court Emma in Union-occupied Alexandria.

James couldn’t be happier. She says, “I am so honored to have the opportunity to portray the spirited, brave and ever-faithful Emma, a true Southern belle whose love for her home state and compassion for others is an inspiring story for us all.  To be able to work so close to home with such a talented cast and dedicated crew is a dream come true.”

“Mercy Street” is scheduled to air on Sunday evenings beginning Jan. 17, 2016. International rights are currently under negotiation. See http://www.pbs.org/about/news/archive/2015/mercy-street-cast/ for more information.

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