Gary Ross’ Civil War drama The Free State of Jones, starring Matthew McConaughey, will now hit theaters May 13, instead of March 11.
STX Entertainment announced the shift Thursday. In a twinned move, STX dated The Space Between Us for July 29.
In Free State of Jones, McConaughey plays a soldier for the Confederacy during the Civil War who becomes disillusioned with the South’s cause, flees the battlefield and defiantly declares a safe haven in Jones County, Miss., after marrying a former slave.
The shift to May means that Free State of Jones will open in the high-profile summer corridor, one week after Captain America: Civil War debuts. So far, the only other title slotted to roll out May 13 is Edward Snowden biopic Snowden.
The “Free State of Jones” film crew wrapped up the last day of footage in the Washington area Tuesday.
With all of the hype surrounding Hollywood arriving in Washington, no one would be able to tell the difference from any other day, outside of two Washington police officers stopping traffic to allow members of the movie crew to cross Highway 103.
St. John’s Church on North Church Street was the filming location, but the public was asked to stay at least 50 yards away from the set.
Production assistants and members of the set crew were strewn throughout the area, communicating with each other on walkie-talkies. The church was draped with a black tarp to control the lighting for filming.
Lead actor Matthew McConaughey arrived at the set at around 11:15 a.m. before the filming for the day began.
Despite the film’s exclusivity from the public, Washington Mayor Joseph Pitre said, the movie’s presence will be a benefit.
“It’s good for the town,” Pitre said. “Anytime you can get publicity for the city, it is good. This brings a positive economic impact to our town as well.”
Alex Worman, in charge of public relations for “Free State” said Washington was chosen as a place to shoot some of the movie because of its historical value.
Jack Montague, a production assistant, said McConaughey and director Gary Ross are history buffs who wanted to get some of “Free State” filmed in Washington.
On Monday, extras were cast and the outside scenes involving extras were shot. Tuesday’s work consisted of scenes inside of the church, including one that involved gunshots.
“Free State” stars McConaughey as defiant Southern farmer Newt Knight and tells the story of Knight and his armed rebellion against the Confederacy. Opposed to both slavery and secession, Knight launched an uprising of poor white farmers that led Jones County, Mississippi, to secede from the Confederacy, creating a “Free State of Jones.” His relationship and post-war marriage to a former slave, Rachel Knight, effectively established the region’s first mixed-race community.
Pitre said having “Free State” in Washington is big and that he would consider welcoming more films to come there in the future.
“We would be open to it,” he said. “Hopefully this will open up more people’s eyes about the importance of historic preservation. I think people participating and benefiting from this will have a greater appreciation for preservation.”
For an actor, there’s no better awards bait than an appearance-transforming role in a biographical war movie. World, meet The Free State of Jones.
Matthew McConaughey will star in the action-drama as Newt Knight, a Mississippi farmer who led a southern rebellion against the Confederates during the Civil War. He and his followers “seceded” from the Confederacy, calling Jones County “The Free State of Jones.” After the war, he distinguished himself from fellow southerners once again by marrying a former slave named Rachel.
The movie is directed by Gary Ross (Seabiscuit, The Hunger Games) and will hit theaters March 11, 2016.
The Civil War action-drama The Free State of Jones has begun shooting in New Orleans, STX Entertainment announced Monday, and now we have our first look at star Matthew McConaughey in action.
The Gary Ross-directed film stars McConaughey, Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Beyond the Lights), Keri Russell (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) and Mahershala Ali (The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, House of Cards).
Set during the Civil War, The Free State of Jones tells the story of the defiant Southern farmer, Newt Knight (Matthew McConaughey), and his extraordinary armed rebellion against the Confederacy. By banding together with other small farmers, and with the assistance of local slaves, Knight was able to launch an uprising that led Jones County, Mississippi to secede from the Confederacy, creating a Free State of Jones. His marriage to Rachel, a former slave, and his establishment of a mixed race community was unique to the post-war South.
The Free State of Jones is set for release on March 11, 2016.