Brow Beat

Matthew McConaughey Starts His Own Country in the First Trailer for Free State of Jones

In the first trailer for the Free State of Jones, Matthew McConaughey grows a scraggly beard to play Newton Knight, a farmer from Mississippi who abandoned the Confederacy and organized an armed rebellion composed of fellow deserters. Gary Ross (The Hunger Games, Seabiscuit) wrote and directed the drama, which appears to seamlessly blend history, legend, and quippy one-liners. (Example: “Last time I checked, a gun don’t care who’s pullin’ the trigger.”)

Keri Russell will play Serena Knight, Newton Knight’s first wife, and Gugu Mbatha-Raw will play Rachel, a former slave whom Knight apparently married after separating from Serena. The film’s apparent plot—especially as Knight crosses paths with a group of escaped former slaves—might tip-toe a little close to White-savior territory, but at least in the trailer Knight’s politics seem pretty reasonable: “No man ought to tell another man what he’s got to live for, or what he’s got to die for.”