Focus Features have today announced that production has begun on the contemporary drama ‘Promised Land.’ Directed by two-time Academy Award nominee Gus Van Sant, the film is from an original screenplay written by John Krasinski and Matt Damon, based on a story by Dave Eggers. Filming begins this week in Pennsylvania for release next winter. Matt Damon and John Krasinski are producing the movie with Chris Moore. Moore co-produced ‘Good Will Hunting,’ which brought its stars and co-writers, Damon and Ben Affleck, the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. Gus Van Sant earned his first Oscar nomination for directing ‘Good Will Hunting'; his second came for directing ‘Milk,’ which bagged two Academy Awards. Alongside Damon and Krasinski, the cast of ‘Promised Land’ includes Rosemarie DeWitt (Rachel Getting Married), Academy Award nominee Hal Holbrook (Into the Wild), Scoot McNairy (Monsters), Titus Welliver (The Town), and Academy Award winner Frances McDormand.

In the film, Matt Damon plays 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 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 (Holbrook) with support from a grassroots campaign led by another man (Krasinski) who counters Steve both personally and professionally.