Gus Van Sant off to the ‘Promised Land’ with Matt Damon, John Krasinski

Gus Van Sant has reunited with his “Good Will Hunting” star and screenwriter Matt Damon for a new film that’s slated to begin shooting this week in Pennsylvania.

Entitled “Promised Land”, the drama will star Damon as a corporate salesman who arrives in a rural town with his business partner (Frances McDormand) to buy up drilling rights from the local residents – only to meet a formidable challenge in the form of a local schoolteacher (Hal Holbrook) and a grassroots organizer (John Krasinski).

The “Capra-esque” film, which also stars Rosemarie DeWitt (“Your Sister’s Sister”, “Rachel Getting Married”), Scoot McNairy (“Monsters”, TV’s “Bones”) and Titus Welliver (“Argo”, “Man on a Ledge”), was scripted by Damon and Krasinski (the two are also serving as producers) from a short story by Dave Eggers, who reportedly wrote an earlier draft of the script. Participant Media (“The Help”, “Contagion”) co-financed the film, and Focus Features holds worldwide distribution rights.

“Matt and I wanted to write a story about American identity,” said Krasinski in a statement. “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.”

“Promised Land” is being eyed for release next winter.

Van Sant’s last feature was the 2011 drama “Restless” starring Mia Wasikowska and Henry Hopper; he also directed the pilot for the Starz drama series “Boss” starring Kelsey Grammer and is currently developing an independent project starring “Twilight” heartthrob Taylor Lautner.

Damon, who of course won an Oscar for writing “Good Will Hunting” with Ben Affleck, last appeared on the big-screen in Cameron Crowe’s “We Bought a Zoo”. He’ll next be seen in the sci-fi film “Elysium” from writer/director Neill Blomkamp (“District 9”), which is slated for release on March 1, 2013.

Are you looking forward to another Van Sant/Damon pairing? Sound off in the comments!

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