Just when you thought the Venice and TIFF lineups had solidified what we could expect in theaters through the end of year (and into 2013), and what the Oscar race would look like, here comes Gus Van Sant's "Promised Land" to shake things up.
The film, which was already teased as being a possible 2012 release, has now been officially slated for December 28th limited release by Focus Features, with an expansion in the new year. Co-written and co-starring Matt Damon and John Krasinski with a supporting ensemble that includes Frances McDormand, Hal Holbrook, Rosemarie Dewitt, Scoot McNairy and Titus Welliver, the film follows Steve Butler, a corporate salesman who arrives in a rural town with his sales partner, Sue Thomason (McDormand). With the town having been hit hard by economic decline in 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 (Holbrook) with support from a grassroots campaign led by another man (Krasinski) who counters Steve both personally and professionally.
Yes, there seems to be some political and social themes running pretty hard, which is the kind of stuff that will either turn Oscar voters on -- especially in a year with an election looming and a variety of issues on the minds of Americans -- or off. And though the movie will drop after voting day, that spirit will likely still be in the air. Will it play into the hands of the film? We'll soon see.
No word yet on if it will pop up on any festival slates -- maybe Telluride? -- but you can bet Focus will want to get some kind of steam behind it. So yes, one more movie on the way folks, in what could shift the game over the next few months. [Deadline]