Matthew McConaughey and Keri Russell Star in ‘Free State of Jones’

Matthew McConaughey and Keri Russell star in The Free State of Jones
Matthew McConaughey in ‘The Free State of Jones’ (Courtesy of STX Entertainment)

STX Entertainment reports filming has begun on Free State of Jones starring Matthew McConaughey, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Keri Russell And Mahershala Ali. The action drama is directed by Gary Ross (The Hunger Games) who also wrote the script and is producing the film. Also on board as producers are Scott Stuber and Jon Kilik.

“I am thrilled to be continuing a relationship with Gary Ross that began with Seabiscuit. He’s an incredible filmmaker with a unique visual style, and with The Free State of Jones he brings a compelling and impactful untold story that is gritty and thrilling while also being heartfelt and intelligent,” said Adam Fogelson, Chairman of STX Entertainment’s Motion Picture Group. “We are extremely proud that this is one of the first films STX Entertainment will be bringing to audiences.”

Filming’s taking place in and around New Orleans. STX Entertainment is eyeing a March 11, 2016 theatrical release.

The Plot: “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. Banding together with other small farmers, and with the assistance of local slaves, Knight launched an uprising that led Jones County, Mississippi to secede from the Confederacy, creating a Free State of Jones. His marriage to a former slave, Rachel, and his subsequent establishment of a mixed race community was unique in the post-war South. Knight continued his struggle into Reconstruction, which distinguished him as a compelling, if controversial, figure of defiance long beyond the War.”