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The Free State of Jones (film)

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Title: The Free State of Jones (film)  
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Subject: STX Entertainment films, Screenplays by Gary Ross, African-American genealogy, Films produced by Scott Stuber, Benoît Delhomme
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The Free State of Jones (film)

The Free State of Jones
Directed by Gary Ross
Produced by Jon Kilik
Gary Ross
Scott Stuber
Written by Gary Ross
Starring Matthew McConaughey
Gugu Mbatha-Raw
Keri Russell
Mahershala Ali
Cinematography Benoît Delhomme
Edited by Pamela Martin
Juliette Welfling
Larger Than Life Productions
Route One Films
Vendian Entertainment
Bluegrass Films
Distributed by STX Entertainment
Release dates
  • May 13, 2016 (2016-05-13) (United States)
Country United States
Language English
Budget $65 million[1]

The Free State of Jones is an upcoming American Civil War drama-thriller film highlighting the true story of anti-slavery Confederate deserters in Jones County, Mississippi. Written and directed by Gary Ross and starring Matthew McConaughey, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Keri Russell and Mahershala Ali, the film is scheduled to be released domestically on May 13, 2016 by STX Entertainment.


  • Plot 1
  • Cast 2
  • Production 3
    • Development 3.1
    • Filming 3.2
  • Release 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


After surviving the 1863 Battle of Corinth during the Civil War, Newton Knight, a poor farmer from Mississippi, leads a group of anti-slavery Confederate deserters in Jones County and turns them against the Confederacy. Knight subsequently marries former slave, Rachel, effectively establishing the region's first mixed-race community, even though Native Americans and Europeans (such as the Mississippi Choctaws) have been doing it long before in their ancient homeland.[1]




A November 5, 2014 report in Deadline Hollywood announced Matthew McConaughey would star as Newton Knight and Gary Ross would direct the film, set during the Civil War, about the true story of Newton Knight, one of the leaders of the greatest rebellions.[1] STX Entertainment was scheduled to finance the film with up-to $20 million of $65 million budget, with IM Global to co-finance the film and STX to release the film.[1]

Jon Kilik, Scott Stuber and Ross are scheduled as the film's producers.[1] On January 6, 2015, Gugu Mbatha-Raw was set to play the role of Rachel, former slave and subsequently Knight's wife.[2] Keri Russell and Mahershala Ali joined the Civil War drama on February 12, in which Russell was set to play Knight's wife, Serena Knight, while Ali was set to play Moses Washington, an escaped slave who joins Knight's rebellion.[3]


In early February 2015, Project Casting reported that production was scheduled for February 23 to May 21 in New Orleans and Lafayette, Louisiana.[4][5] On February 10, McConaughey was spotted rehearsing for the film in New Orleans and again on February 21 in costume.[6][7] Principal photography began on February 23, and is scheduled to be ended on May 28.[8] On March 9, Adam Fogelson, Chairman of STX Entertainment announced the start of the production in and around New Orleans, with release of a first look photo.[9] In May 2015, shooting is scheduled for Clinton, with East Feliciana Parish as the filming set.[10] On May 25, 2015, some filming took place at Chicot State Park around Ville Platte, Louisiana.


On February 25, 2015, STX Entertainment announced the film will be released on March 11, 2016.[11] In October 2015, STX pushed back the date to May 13, 2016.[12]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Fleming Jr, Mike; Busch, Anita (November 5, 2014). "Matthew McConaughey & Gary Ross Mount Civil War Saga; Bob Simonds’ STX In Talks To Finance". Retrieved March 6, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b Sneider, Jeff (January 6, 2015). "Gugu Mbatha-Raw to Star Opposite Matthew McConaughey in Gary Ross’ ‘Free State of Jones’ (Exclusive)". Retrieved March 6, 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c Sneider, Jeff (February 12, 2015). "Keri Russell, Mahershala Ali Join Matthew McConaughey in ‘Free State of Jones’ (Exclusive)". Retrieved February 15, 2015. 
  4. ^ "‘Free State of Jones’ Starring Matthew McConaughey Open Casting Call". February 3, 2015. Retrieved February 15, 2015. 
  5. ^ Scott, Mike (January 7, 2015). "Matthew McConaughey's Civil War drama 'The Free State of Jones' to shoot in New Orleans and Lafayette; extras sought". Retrieved February 15, 2015. 
  6. ^ WAUGH, HEATHER (February 11, 2015). "Matthew McConaughey sports scruffy beard on stroll in New Orleans as he prepares to film civil war drama". Retrieved March 6, 2015. 
  7. ^ ZHAO, HELEN (February 22, 2015). "EXCLUSIVE: First look at a very scruffy Matthew McConaughey on New Orleans set of Civil War drama The Free State Of Jones". Retrieved February 26, 2015. 
  8. ^ "Mathew McConaughey begins filming ‘The Free State of Jones’ in Louisiana". February 26, 2015. Retrieved February 26, 2015. 
  9. ^ Evry, Max (March 9, 2015). "First Look at Matthew McConaughey in The Free State of Jones". Retrieved March 10, 2015. 
  10. ^ WARREN, STEPHANIE (March 4, 2015). "Major motion picture to be filmed in Clinton". Retrieved March 7, 2015. 
  11. ^ Lang, Brent (February 25, 2015). "STX Entertainment Dates Films With Matthew McConaughey, Julia Roberts, Jason Blum". Retrieved March 6, 2015. 
  12. ^ Busch, Anita (October 22, 2015). "STX Pushes ‘Free State Of Jones’ To Summer 2016, Dates ‘The Space Between Us’". Retrieved October 28, 2015. 

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