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Van Sant's 'Promised Land' Begins Production with Damon, Krasinski, DeWitt, MacDormand, Holbrook & McNairy

Thompson on Hollywood By Sophia Savage | Thompson on Hollywood April 24, 2012 at 6:10PM

Gus Van Sant's "Promised Land," written by and starring Matt Damon and John Krasinski, begins production this week in Pennsylvania. Participant is co-producing with Focus Features, which holds worldwide rights; the film will be shopped at Cannes and is slated for release next winter.
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Damon & Krasinski

Gus Van Sant's "Promised Land," written by and starring Matt Damon and John Krasinski, begins production this week in Pennsylvania. Participant is co-producing with Focus Features, which holds worldwide rights; the film will be shopped at Cannes and is slated for release next winter.

Damon and Krasinski are also producing with Chris Moore, who also co-produced Van Sant's "Good Will Hunting," which ignited Damon's career, earned an Oscar nom for Van Sant and a screenwriting win for Damon and Ben Affleck. With this team and a cast that also includes Rosemarie DeWitt, Hal Holbrook, Scoot McNairy (he's starring with Brad Pitt in "Killing Them Softly"), Titus Welliver and Frances McDormand, the project should be an attractive buy at Cannes.

Damon and Krasinski's screenplay is an adaptation of a story by author Dave Eggers; see synopsis below. 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.”

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.

This article is related to: News, News, Gus Van Sant, Matt Damon, John Krasinski, IN THE WORKS, Focus Features


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.