The first official image has been released from The Free State of Jones, a movie chronicling the true story of Newt Knight. Believe it or not, it’s already being suggested as a possible favourite for next year’s Oscars.

The movie is set during the Civil War, and The Free State of Jones tells the story of defiant Southern farmer Newt Knight (Matthew McConaughey), 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 (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), and his subsequent establishment of a mixed race community was unique in the post-war South. Knight continued his struggle into Reconstruction, which distinguished him as a compelling, if controversial, figure of defiance long beyond the War. The cast also includes Keri Russell,and Mahershala Ali, and the movie is directed by Gary Ross (The Hunger Games).

The Free State of Jones is set to be released on March 11th next year, so we still have a while to wait. It’s an impressive cast though with a four-time Oscar-nominee at the helm, so it’ll be well worth keeping an eye on.

The Free State of Jones