Written and directed by four-time Oscar nominee Gary Ross (THE HUNGER GAMES, SEABISCUIT, PLEASANTVILLE), and starring Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey, THE FREE STATE OF JONES is an epic action-drama set during the Civil War, and 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, distinguishing him as a compelling, if controversial, figure of defiance long beyond the War.

  • 2 hr 19 minR
  • Drama

Cast & Crew

  • Keri Russell

    Keri RussellActor

  • Matthew McConaughey

    Matthew McConaugheyActor

    American actor and producer Matthew David McConaughey was born in Uvalde, Texas. His mother, Mary Kathleen (McCabe), is a substitute school teacher originally from New Jersey. His father, James Donald McConaughey, was a Mississippi-born gas station owner who ran an oil pipe supply business. He is of Irish, Scottish, English, German, and Swedish descent. Matthew grew up in Longview, Texas, where he graduated from the local High School (1988). Showing little interest in his father's oil business, which his two brothers later joined, Matthew was longing for a change of scenery, and spent a year in Australia, washing dishes and shoveling chicken manure. Back to the States, he attended the University of Texas in Austin, originally wishing to be a lawyer. But, when he discovered an inspirational Og Mandino book "The Greatest Salesman in the World" before one of his final exams, he suddenly knew he had to change his major from law to film. He began his acting career in 1991, appearing in student films and commercials in Texas and directed short films as Chicano Chariots (1992). Once, in his hotel bar in Austin, he met the casting director and producer Don Phillips, who introduced him to director Richard Linklater for his next project. At first, Linklater thought Matthew was too handsome to play the role of a guy chasing high school girls in his coming-of-age drama Dazed and Confused (1993), but cast him after Matthew grew out his hair and mustache. His character was initially in three scenes but the role grew to more than 300 lines as Linklater encouraged him to do some improvisations. In 1995, he starred in Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation (1994), playing a mad bloodthirsty sadistic killer, opposite Renée Zellweger. Shortly thereafter, moving to L.A., Matthew became a sensation with his performances in two high-profile 1996 films Lone Star (1996), where he portrayed killing suspected sheriff and in the film adaptation of John Grisham's novel A Time to Kill (1996), where he played an idealistic young lawyer opposite Sandra Bullock and Kevin Spacey. The actor was soon being hailed as one of the industry's hottest young leading man inspiring comparisons to actor Paul Newman. His following performances were Robert Zemeckis' Contact (1997) with Jodie Foster (the film was finished just before the death of the great astronomer and popularizer of space science Carl Sagan) and Steven Spielberg's Amistad (1997), a fact-based 1839 story about the rebellious African slaves. In 1998, he teamed again with Richard Linklater as one of the bank-robbing brothers in The Newton Boys (1998), set in Matthew's birthplace, Uvalde, Texas. During this time, he also wrote, directed and starred in the 20-minute short The Rebel (1998). In 1999, he starred in the comedy Edtv (1999), about the rise of reality television, and in 2000, he headlined Jonathan Mostow's U-571 (2000), portraying officer Lt. Tyler, in a WW II story of the daring mission of American submariners trying to capture the Enigma cipher machine. In the 2000s, he became known for starring in romantic comedies, such as The Wedding Planner (2001), opposite Jennifer Lopez, and How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (2003), in which he co-starred with Kate Hudson. He played Denton Van Zan, an American warrior and dragons hunter in the futuristic thriller Reign of Fire (2002), where he co-starred with Christian Bale. In 2006, he starred in the romantic comedy Failure to Launch (2006), and later as head coach Jack Lengyel in We Are Marshall (2006), along with Matthew Fox. In 2008, he played treasure hunter Benjamin "Finn" Finnegan in Fool's Gold (2008), again with Kate Hudson. After playing Connor Mead in Ghosts of Girlfriends Past (2009), co-starring with Jennifer Garner, McConaughey took a two year hiatus to open different opportunities in his career. Since 2010, he has moved away from romantic comedies. That change came in 2011, in his first movie after that pause, when he portrayed criminal defense attorney Mickey Haller in The Lincoln Lawyer (2011), that operates mostly from the back seat of his Lincoln car. After this performance that was considered one of his best until then, Matthew played other iconic characters as district attorney Danny Buck Davidson in Bernie (2011), the wild private detective "Killer" Joe Cooper in Killer Joe (2011), Mud in Mud (2012), reporter Ward Jensen in The Paperboy (2012), male stripper club owner Dallas in Magic Mike (2012), starring Channing Tatum. McConaughey's career certainly reached it's prime, when he played HIV carrier Ron Woodroof in the biographical drama Dallas Buyers Club (2013), shot in less than a month. For his portrayal of Ron, Matthew won the Best Actor in the 86th Academy Awards, as well as the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor, among other awards and nominations. The same year, he also appeared in Martin Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street (2013). In 2014, he starred in HBO's True Detective (2014), as detective Rustin Cohle, whose job is to investigate with his partner Martin Hart, played by Woody Harrelson, a gruesome murder that happened in his little town in Louisiana. The series was highly acclaimed by critics winning 4 of the 7 categories it was nominated at the 66th Primetime Emmy Awards; he also won a Critics' Choice Award for the role. Also in 2014, Matthew starred in Christopher Nolan's sci-fi film Interstellar (2014), playing Cooper, a former NASA pilot.
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  • Gugu Mbatha-Raw

    Gugu Mbatha-RawActor

    Gugu Mbatha-Raw was born Gugulethu Sophia Mbatha in the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, England. Her father, Patrick Mbatha, is a Black South African doctor, and her mother, Anne Raw, is a Caucasian English nurse. Her parents separated when she was a year old, and she was brought up by her mother in the town of Witney, Oxfordshire (she is still close to her father). She joined the local acting group Dramascope and, from the age of eleven, appeared in the pantomime at Oxford Playhouse every year. A talented singer and dancer as well as playing the saxophone, she joined the Oxford Youth Music Theatre in her teens. In 2001, she won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in London. Since graduation in 2004, she has appeared in all media, including as an acclaimed Juliet Capulet in "Romeo and Juliet" at Manchester's Royal Exchange Theatre in 2005, opposite Andrew Garfield as Romeo Montague. Mbatha-Raw was nominated for Best Actress in the Manchester Evening News Theatre Awards for her portrayal of Juliet Capulet. She also appeared as Octavia in "Antony and Cleopatra" at the same theatre in 2005. In 2009, she was cast as Ophelia in "Hamlet" on London's West End and Broadway, opposite Jude Law as the title role. Mbatha-Raw appeared on such varied television series as Bad Girls (1999), Doctor Who (2005), Agatha Christie's Marple (2004) and Touch (2012). She had a supporting role in the romantic comedy Larry Crowne (2011), written and directed by Tom Hanks, who also played the title role. She was acclaimed for her performance of Dido Elizabeth Belle in Amma Asante's Belle (2013), which earned her a British Independent Film Award for Best Actress, and a nomination as Most Promising Newcomer. She was also nominated for a Satellite Award for Best Actress. She starred in the romantic drama Beyond the Lights (2014) and was nominated for a Gotham Award for Best Actress for her performance. In 2015, she was nominated for a BAFTA Rising Star Award. That same year, she had a supporting role in Jupiter Ascending (2015), played Prema Mutiso, the wife of Dr. Bennet Omalu (played by Will Smith) in the biopic Concussion (2015), and the title role in Jessica Swale's play "Nell Gwynn", playing the actress who became the mistress of King Charles II of England. She was nominated for an Evening Standard Theatre Award for Best Actress for her performance in the play. She played Rachel in Newton Knight's biopic Free State of Jones (2016), directed by Gary Ross, playing Knight's common-law wife, a freedwoman he had a family with after the Civil War. She also played Esme Manucharian in Miss Sloane (2016), Sophie on Netflix's series Easy (2016), and played Kelly, one of the leads in "San Junipero", the fourth episode of Season 3 of Black Mirror (2011). Her upcoming projects are Beauty and the Beast (2017), in which she plays Plumette, and a film adaptation of Roxane Gay's novel "An Untamed State", directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood. Gugu Mbatha-Raw was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) by Queen Elizabeth II in the 2017 Birthday Honours for her services to drama.
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  • Mahershala Ali

    Mahershala AliActor

  • Gary Ross

    Gary RossDirector

  • Gary Ross

    Gary RossProducer

Cast & Crew photos provided by TMDb.

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