It’s been four years since The Hunger Games hit theaters, but director Gary Ross is finally back with another film and when you see Free State of Jones, you’ll understand why it took so long to come to fruition. Not only is it a moderately priced war drama that looks like it could have been a big budget studio production, but the script also reflects the significant amount of research that went into making the film.
Ross first discovered Newt Knight’s story after Seabiscuit hit theaters in 2003. After a decade of research, STX Entertainment stepped in to help bring Ross’ passion project to screen and now we’re just days away from seeing Matthew McConaughey as Knight, a Mississippi farmer who lead a group of poor white farmers and runaway slaves in a rebellion against the Confederate Army.
With Free State of Jones making its way into theaters on June 24th, I got the opportunity to sit down with Ross to discuss his experience making the movie, the budget, shooting in a swamp, and much more. You can catch it all in the video interview at the top of this article and be sure to keep an eye out for my chats with McConaughey, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Mahershala Ali coming soon as well.
Here’s the official synopsis for Free State of Jones:
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.