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Plot Revealed For John Krasinski And Matt Damon's The Promised Land

With Matt Damon reuniting with his Good Will Hunting director Gus van Sant, John Krasinski writing the screenplay alongside Damon and Dave Eggers, and Damon and Krasinski facing off as rivals onscreen, the upcoming drama The Promised Land has a whole lot of potential to be great, even if we can't quite wrap our minds around how they keep comparing to Frank Capra. In a press release announcing the start of production in Pennsylvania, Focus Features revealed a little more information about how the story will fit into the Capra mold, focusing on a small town and on two men-- Krasinski and Damon-- who are forced to reckon with the power of that town and what it means to them. Here's the plot summary from the release:

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.

Krasinski also elaborated a little bit on what motivated him, Damon and Eggers to write the script together-- Damon's first screenplay credit since his 2002 collaboration with van Sant, Gerry, and Krasinski's first screenplay period.

Matt and I 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 movie is on track for a winter release next year, which means we're probably not the only ones with high hopes for this-- winter release dates from Focus Features generally mean Oscar buzz is on the way. It's been easy to forget all these years that Matt Damon has an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay-- it's obviously way, way too early to tell, but he might be on his way to another one.

Katey Rich

Staff Writer at CinemaBlend