Focus Features will release Matt Damon and John Krasinski’s anti-fracking movie “Promised Land,” which the pair co-wrote and star in together, in NY and LA theaters December 28 for an Oscar-qualifying run, followed by a January 2013 expansion. It looks like Focus is adding this film to its award season plate along with Wes Anderson’s “Moonrise Kingdom” and Joe Wright’s “Anna Karenina.”
Damon was going to make his directing debut on the film but passed the baton to his “Good Will Hunting” director Gus Van Sant. The film was produced by Focus Features and co-financed by exec producer Participant Media. Damon and Krasinski also produced, with “Good Will Hunting” producer Chris Moore. They star alongside Rosemarie DeWitt, Frances McDormand, Hal Holbrook, Scoot McNairy and Titus Welliver.
Damon and Krasinski’s screenplay is an adaptation of a story by author Dave Eggers, who worked with Krasinksi on “Away We Go.” Political activist Damon is opposed to the practice of fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, a drilling process for extracting natural gas from shale rock which involves forcing masses of water and chemicals into wells and can taint ground water. (See Damon’s 2010 Working Families Party video below.)
At the start of production, Krasinski said that he and Damon “wanted to write a story about American identity. In all of today’s political and economic rhetoric, I feel people often lose sight of the deeper, core principles of what defines us as a country. We knew we needed to find a contemporary issue that would serve as the backdrop to the story but, more importantly, allow us to fully explore this idea.”
The synopsis is below.
Mr. Damon plays Steve Butler, a corporate salesman who arrives in a rural town with his sales partner, Sue Thomason (Ms. McDormand). With the town having been hit hard by the economic decline of recent years, the two outsiders see the local citizens as likely to accept their company’s offer, for drilling rights to their properties, as much-needed relief. What seems like an easy job for the duo becomes complicated by the objection of a respected schoolteacher (Mr. Holbrook) with support from a grassroots campaign led by another man (Mr. Krasinski) who counters Steve both personally and professionally.