“Free State of Jones” Releases New Set of Pictures

More Free State of Jones images! In this batch, we get less of Matthew McConaughey and more of Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Mahershala Ali. Check them out below.

My worries about the film are the same as they’ve been a few weeks ago. To recap from my earlier article:

Number one: Is this just a re-jiggered “Good White Man” story with a new coat of “inclusion” polish? Perhaps. Will Gugu Mbatha-Raw have a fleshed-out character beyond being just Matthew McConaughey’s “exotic” love interest? One hopes so. Will this story be centered around the feelings of McConaughey’s character, with the feelings of the black characters who are in the most peril as the film’s remote satellites? I certainly hope not. I don’t want to feel like another Dances With Wolves situation, in which the white man is taken in by the darker people of the region and is, in some ways, made their proverbial king.

Do I know it’s based on real life? Yes. Do I think it could fit into Hollywood’s favorite narrative, the “white savior” narrative? Yes. Or it could. We’ll see when we get into the movie theater, won’t we? (Am I judging a film before it comes out? Yes. But we all do this, so don’t single me out.)

In any case, here are the deets. The film comes out June 24.

Written and directed by four-time Oscar® nominee Gary Ross (The Hunger Games, Seabiscuit, Pleasantville), and starring Oscar® winner Matthew McConaughey, Free State of Jones is an epic action-drama set during the Civil War, and tells the story of defiant Southern farmer, Newt Knight, and his extraordinary armed rebellion against the Confederacy.

Banding together with other small farmers and local slaves, Knight launched an uprising that led Jones County, Mississippi to secede from the Confederacy, creating a Free State of Jones.

Knight continued his struggle into Reconstruction, distinguishing him as a compelling, if controversial, figure of defiance long beyond the War.

Genres: Epic Action-Drama
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Keri Russell, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Mahershala Ali
Directed By: Gary Ross
Produced By: Scott Stuber, Jon Kilik, Gary Ross

  • Aslan

    Having read Dr. Victoria Bynum’s books about the Jones County uprising “Free State of Jones” and “The Long Shadow of the Civil War” which dealt with Reconstruction, Newt Knight’s activities during it and the repercussions on his and Rachel’s mixed race descendants, I certainly hope Rachel won’t just be a “love interest”.


    Rachel was Newt’s closest ally during the war. She taught the wives of Confederate soldiers (the wives and families opposed the Confederacy which was taxing them into starvation and supported the Knight Company) and the Knight Company itself the tricks she had learned working for the Underground Railroad, how to throw dogs off the trail, she ran a spy network among slaves which kept an eye on the Confederates to keep the Knight Company apprised of the Army’s movements. She also was the chief supplier of arms and food to the insurgents.

    After the war Rachel and Newt entered into a common-law marriage (marriage between blacks and whites being illegal, Newt didn’t bother to legally divorce his white wife Serena). Newt provided for the children Rachel had before she met him (8 of them) and together they had 5 children – all of whom Newt recognized, supported and treated equally to the children he had had with his white wife. In fact two of the children Rachel had had prior to meeting Newt married two of Newt and Serena’s children.

    When Newt died in very old age, he stipulated that he was to be buried next to Rachel – it was illegal for blacks and white to ‘share’ a cemetery in Mississippi. So it was a final act of defiance – and love – on his part.

    So that was one ‘love interest’ who had repercussions in Mississippi right into the 20th century when their grandson Davis was arrested in the 1940s for marrying a white woman. Davis had majority white blood, but that doesn’t count in Mississippi. He was sentenced to 5 years in prison for miscegenation.