Right-wing filmmaker Ronald Maxwell, who made the pro-southern Civil War epics "Gettysburg" and "Gods and Generals," once seriously considered bringing a wildly racist anti-immigrant novel to the big screen.

According to a 1996 memo written by racist nativist leader John Tanton, Maxwell "is solidly in our camp" and "is currently looking over The Camp of the Saints" with an eye to making it into a movie. The book, written in 1973 by Frenchman Jean Raspail, depicts an invasion of France by immigrants from India who are painted as sexually voracious savages who destroy the country and ravish its white women. Tanton had republished an English-language version in 1995, celebrating Raspail as a hero who was "20 years ahead of his time."

Tanton had earlier lobbied a number of filmmakers to undertake the project with no luck, according to Tanton papers held at the University of Michigan's Bentley Historical Library. But then he was put in touch with Maxwell by Peter Brimelow, a white nationalist, naturalized British immigrant and nativist who today runs the racist VDARE.com website.

Maxwell apparently gave Tanton much to hope for. On Oct. 30, 1996, Tanton wrote to Fred Stanback, a longtime funder of Tanton's anti-immigration U.S. Inc., saying, "We hope to have a screenplay complete by spring; the mover and the shaker is Ron Maxwell." Over the following few years, Tanton wrote Maxwell repeatedly to check on the project's progress. It is not clear from Tanton's papers why the movie was never made. Neither Tanton nor Maxwell would comment for this story.

At the time that Tanton was corresponding with Maxwell, the filmmaker's political views about immigration were unknown. No more. In 2007, Maxwell adopted the racist "reconquista" theory, which claims that Mexico is secretly planning to reconquer the American Southwest. He said that Mexican immigrants' goal was "outright annexation" of the Southwest, and described the outcome of such immigration as being the "suicide" of "the American people."