For his next project, Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club) will be traveling with director by Gary Ross (The Hunger Games) to nineteenth century America, playing real-life Civil War deserter Newton Knight in The Free State of Jones, reports Deadline. The tale will center on the Confederate soldier Knight, who deserts at the height of the war with a band of fellow defectors to form the titular safe haven in Jones County, Mississippi. Knight has been a controversial figure in U.S. history, also leading the creation of a small mixed-race community when he later entered into a common law marriage with a former slave.
With such a complex character to play, Matthew McConaughey’s interest and involvement comes as no surprise. The newly minted Oscar winner undoubtedly has his pick of scripts since his exemplary work in Dallas Buyers Club, his small yet impactful role in The Wolf of Wall Street, as well as his game-changing performance in HBO’s True Detective series. Without a screenwriter locked in, we can assume that McConaughey’s quick and well-deserved rise has led to possibly nabbing the generous backing of STX Entertainment for the project. Meanwhile, as the film waits on a script, McConaughey will be busy promoting Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar, out this weekend, in addition to his next projects. He will star in Gus Van Sant’s next feature Sea of Trees alongside Naomi Watts (Birdman), Thunder Run with Gerard Butler (300), as well as enter into a new role as producer for the comedy The Grackle.