The first trailer for the Civil War drama Free State of Jones has been released online by STX Entertainment. Written and directed by The Hunger Games and Pleasantville helmer Gary Ross, the film is based on the true story of Newt Knight (Matthew McConaughey), a Southern farmer who led a rebellion against the Confederacy during the Civil War. It’s a fascinating story that stretches into his marriage with a former slave (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), the establishment of a mixed-raced community in the South, and Knight’s continued efforts through Reconstruction.
I’m a big fan of Ross’ work, and after successfully launching The Hunger Games franchise (he neglected to return for the sequel due to the rushed schedule), it’s fascinating to see him using his clout to bring a Civil War epic to the big screen. And indeed, Free State of Jones certainly looks epic, covering a lot of story for one film. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of throughline Ross decides to thread through this story of a rebellion, but McConaughey certainly appears to be on point in this impressive if somewhat too extensive trailer.
Check out the trailer below. Free State of Jones also stars Keri Russell and Mahershala Ali and opens in theaters on March 11th.
Here’s the official synopsis for Free State of Jones:
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.