You’ve seen Matthew McConaughey blast off into the dark corners of space in Interstellar, storm Wall Street’s corridors of power in The Wolf of Wall Street and swagger through mid-1980s Texas in Dallas Buyers Club. Now, the Oscar-winner is ready to pick up the musket as Newt Knight, a hardened and defiant farmer from the Deep South that leads the charge against Confederacy.
In doing so, Knight births the Free State of Jones along with a group of his fellow poorly farmers, and it’s this fight against the man that underpins Gary Ross’ (The Hunger Games) upcoming drama. Opening in rather unconventional fashion this May, Ross’ based-on-real-events feature is beginning to turn heads and raise eyebrows for its gritty realization of the American Civil War.
Teasing what lies in store, McConaughey offered a brief overview of the inherent themes fuelling the rebellion seen in Free State of Jones.
“It’s a story about America and its relation with the individual and freedom,” he says. “The period of Reconstruction following the Civil War is still under construction today. Why we were divided by race instead of being united by class didn’t make sense to Newt Knight back then, and it wouldn’t make sense to him today.”
Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Mahershala Ali, Keri Russell, and Brendan Gleeson round out the ensemble cast, and the latest poster per Entertainment Weekly takes you up close and personal with Matthew McConaughey’s weathered freedom fighter.
Rubbing shoulders with summer blockbusters such as Captain America: Civil War and X-Men: Apocalypse, Gary Ross’ Free State of Jones will open in theaters on May 13, and we’re intrigued to see how an awards-friendly feature fares during the crowded summer corridor.
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.