STX Entertainment and IM Global’s financial partnership for civil war drama Free State of Jones is beginning to bear fruit, as the studios have unveiled a pair of new stills for Gary Ross’ feature that showcase Interstellar star Matthew McConaughey in action.
For the film, he’ll assume the role of Newton Knight, a confederate soldier who spearheads one of the largest, and most significant rebellions in the bloody history of the four-year battle. Opposite McConaughey for the film is Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Beyond the Lights), a slave named Rachel who wins the heart of the iconic protagonist, paving the way for one of the first mixed-race marriages in the state. Rachel’s relationship with Newton has been documented as one of the defining periods of his life, and it’ll be fascinating to see that play out on the big screen under Ross’ astute eye.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes star Keri Russel and Mahershala Ali are on board in supporting roles, while Free State of Jones will be produced by Scott Stuber and Jon Kilik, whose previous credits include Ted, Safe House and The Hunger Games.
Matthew McConaughey will lead the charge when Ross’ Free State of Jones arrives in theaters nationwide on March 11, 2016.
Set during the Civil War, The Free State of Jones tells the story of defiant Southern farmer, Newt Knight, and his extraordinary armed rebellion against the Confederacy. Opposed to both slavery and secession, Knight launched an uprising of poor white farmers that led Jones County, Mississippi to itself secede from the Confederacy, creating a “Free State of Jones.” His relationship and post-war marriage to a former slave, Rachel Knight, effectively established the region’s first mixed-race community. Knight, continued his fight into the post war period, resisting Klan activity through Reconstruction. His legendary rebellion distinguished Newt Knight as a compelling, if controversial, figure of defiance long beyond the War.