Beyond the Lights actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw has just landed a role opposite Matthew McConaughey in the Civil War drama, The Free State of Jones, The Wrap reports. The film follows the true story of Confederate deserter, Newton Knight, and his attempts to create a safe haven in Jones County, Mississippi. Mbatha-Raw is set to play a former slave and Newton’s common-law wife, Rachel.
As previously reported, the film had been searching for a screenwriter back in November, even after McConaughey signed on. Gary Ross (Seabiscuit, The Hunger Games), the original producer on the project, has since taken on writing duties. With a script underway, and two of the leading actors locked in, the film continues its search for a director.
With this booking Mbatha-Raw’s rise to fame in the acting world continues. Fresh off two highly buzzed-about films: Belle, and Beyond the Lights, the British actress could maintain her streak matched with the nouveau Hollywood powerhouse McConaughey. Mbatha-Raw also has Will Smith’s Untitled NFL Concussion Drama ahead of her, as well as Jupiter Ascending, coming out February 6.
The Free State of Jones is expected to be released by 2016.