Gugu Mbatha-Raw had a pretty good 2014, with a pair of critically acclaimed performances that put her in the eyes of a lot of filmgoers. Belle is the one I have seen (the other being Beyond the Lights), and I totally agree with all the raves she has been getting. I do want to see Beyond the Lights as soon as I can, even if I did not hear the best things about it, just to see what she does. With these raves, it was only a matter of time before the Oxford native started getting parts left and right.
Gary Ross (Pleasantville, The Hunger Games) has selected Mbatha-Raw to star opposite Matthew McConaughey in The Free State of Jones. If you want a sense of what the film is about, take a gander at the synopsis:
Mbatha-Raw will play a slave named Rachel, who forms a crucial relationship with Knight that impacts his life and rebellion greatly.
It sounds like it could make a compelling film. McConaughey and Mbatha-Raw is an interesting pairing. It could turn into a white savior film based on that synopsis, and I hope Ross and company steer very clear of that. Although, Ross has not been my favorite director up until now, and I do not know if he has the skills to take it away from the easier angle. We probably will not see this film until next year, so I am not going to let it worry me.
Original report from The Wrap.