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